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
During the course of this month the areas covered included Tundani, Macho-Kobo, Kyae-rock, Mathae, Kalovoto, Kanziko, Lagga-Kugu and the powerline.
295 SNARES COLLECTED 4 ARREST
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.
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.
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.
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.
Report by Patrick Mutuku