Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 July 2008

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 July 2008


Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya Peter Ndungu 2 KWS Rangers – Nicholas Leteipa and Lawrence Thuranira

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered included Tundani, Macho-Kobo, Kyae-rock, Mathae, Kalovoto, Kanziko, Lagga-Kugu and the powerline.


Findings During the month of July the Ithumba team managed to lift a total of 292 snares, only 3 of which targeted big game with the remaining 289 snares targeting small game. The team was able to arrest 4 elephant poachers. These arrests came after the team had found the carcass of a dead elephant along the power line only 664 meters from the road that led to the Kasaala gate.

Based on information that we had been given we knew who had killed the elephant and were able to arrest them. The culprits admitted their guilt and were booked at Mutomo police station where they are awaiting prosecution.

Observable Evidence The month of July was marked by an increase in the amount of illegal activities taking place in the park which is in stark contrast to the past 6 months when we experienced a decrease in the snaring levels and illegal activities in the park. We have also noticed that poachers are now targeting large game. The lifting of the ban on the ivory trade, in conjunction with the ever increasing demand for ivory in China and other Asian countries poses a serious threat to the African elephant. Shooting platforms have been erected along animal trails and near water points, especially now that the dry season is in full swing.

Tundani, Macho-Kobo and Kyae-rock The team began the months patrols at Tundani were there the Tiva river provides a permanent water source for wildlife in the area. We were able to lift 26 snares that targeted small game and came across a shooting platform next to a stream that serves as a permanent water source for the animals. At Kyaei-rock we found a poachers camp that was only two days old. From the arrested poachers we found out that they had spent the night at the camp while tracking the elephant that they had eventually killed. At Macho-Kobo we found numerous footprints around a water point where there was another shooting platform in the area and were able to lift three snares.

Mathae, Kalovoto and powerline From patrols carried out in these areas in the past months we have noticed that the poachers have taken to moving further into the park to carry out their illegal activities. At Mathae we lifted 160 snares all of which targeted small game and later found out that a poacher had been spotted carrying out 16 dikdiks a day before.

We then moved our patrols to the Kalovoto area where we lifted 36 snares targeting small game. On the 25th of June, during our patrols at the power line, we came across the carcass of a male elephant that had been killed 5 days before.
The poachers had killed the bull by shooting it with poisonous arrows. Thirty four snares targeting small game were lifted by the team. We were able to apprehend 4 poachers who admitted that they had shot the elephant near the Tiva river and followed it to the power line where it succumbed to the poison from the arrows and died.
The culprits were booked at Mutomo police station where they were charged with poaching. Toward the end of our patrols in the area we were able to rescue a dikdik that had become trapped in a snare.

Kanziko and Lagga-Kugu Few illegal activites were seen to be taking place in the area. The team was able to lift 40 snares all of which targeted small game. We also came across a poachers camp that had long since been abandoned. Footprints leading out the park from the Shetani caves were seen. It was established that the footprints were three days old.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS During the second week of July Kivuti primary school and Kaluluini primary school were treated to a field trip into Tsavo National Park. The pupils and teachers learned a lot about wildlife and conservation. We found out that before the field trip even the teachers were unable to differentiate between a zebra and a lesser kudu. The pupils appreciated the trip immensely and thanked the Trust for this generous gesture.

The students were taken to Lugards falls, Kiasa hill and the Ithumba stockades where they saw the orphans.
During the field trip they also saw buffalos, crocodiles, elephants, jackals, Impalas and other wildlife.

During the last week of the month the Ithumba desnaring team donated sports equipment to Kavete primary school and Kakithya primary school. The area chiefs were present when we donated the equipment and we took the opportunity to sensitize the communities about the need to conserve Tsavo and the northern wilderness area.

The community vowed to reject any poachers in their midst and expose them as they are tarnishing the communities name. The parents from both the schools also appreciated the donation of the sports equipment. The team also attended a community meeting with the Warden of the Northern area and the community Warden of Mutomo. The meeting took place at Kimweli primary school.

Report by Patrick Mutuku