Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 July 2009

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 July 2009

Share the article

Participants:

Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Musau Kitulya Lemanten Labarakwe James Lodungokiyok

Area of operation:

During the month of July the Ithumba team patrolled the Community areas surrounding the National Park. Due to the new restrictions the Team could not carry out its normal operations.

69 SNARES COLLECTED 1 POACHER ARRESTED

FINDINGS

During the last week on the month the Ithumba Team together with 10 casuals from the Community areas took on the job of reviving the Camps around the Northern side of Tsavo East. Many of these camps have been neglected for several years and needed allot of work. The Team prepared the Tundani Campsite so that it can accommodate over ten tents comfortably. This Campsite is close to a waterhole which could have great potential for good animal sightings. During the work at the Campsite the team saw large numbers of Buffalos.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

The team organized two school trips to Tsavo East National Park during the month. The first school was Tsavo Primary School which is located only 2km from the Park Gate. Surprisingly most of the students in this school have never gone into the Park despite being so near.

This was the second group of students from this school to be given a golden opportunity to go into the park and the excitement amongst the kids certainly showed.
The students were picked up early at 6am to maximize the students’ day trip and game viewing. They visited the Ithumba Hill, the Dog Unit, Tiva River, & Kiasa Hill. They also saw allot of game including elephants, Giraffes, crocodiles,impala and waterbuck.
During the trip we came across a dead elephant which had been killed by poachers using poison arrows.
The students were taken to see the orphans Trusts’ elephant orphans at the Ithumba Unit before heading home.
The 2nd school trip was for Kasaala Secondary School, this is the only high school within the area and has been one of the Teams focus for Environmental Awareness for some time since the students were still in Primary level. This was also the students first time to visit the National Park; their trip route was similar to the previous groups. At Galana River the Students learnt about water algae as well as the effects of the drought as the river was very low.
The students really enjoyed the trip and were very grateful for this special and fun filled day.

SCHOOL NEEDS ASSESMENT

The Team paid a visit to Kasaala Primary School to see the students, Teachers, and parents to conduct a general needs assessment. Some pressing problems for the school include water storage facilities, lack of equipment like desks, lack of solar panels, and understaffing.

The Team visited Kivuti Primary School which has 600 students yet very little facilities. This school is in desperate need of desks, sports equipment, class rooms, and water tanks. There is also a serious lack of teachers as well as food for the students lunch. This school has show dedication to our environmental awareness projects as we have been working with them since 2002.

On the 18/7/09 attended Kasaala Secondary school parents’ day, the school invited the Team to give the parents, teachers and students a lecture about conservation and ways they as community members can get involved and make a difference. The students wrote poems about how to conserve Tsavo’s ecosystem for future generation which were read out after our lecture. The theme for the poems was “time for excuses is over”.

KONE COMMUNITY

The Team has been doing rigorous environmental awareness campaigns to the Oroma Community in Tana River District. This area is the main entry point for Somali poachers who cross into Tsavo to poach elephant and a rhino as the demand in the illegal market is very high particularly from Middle Eastern countries. A kilo of ivory in the black market now sells at Ksh10,000 which is a big incentive for poachers. Last year ivory was retailing at ksh300 per kilo and a person looking to buy illegal ivory could look in the market for a long time before having any ivory available. These statistics are shocking and very worrying.

The Team visited Kone three times this month to service their water pump as it has been breaking down now and then. The pump has been taken to Nairobi for repair and requires a total overhaul.

The lack of water is driving the settlers in this area to move into the park as far as Bisadi Falls. This move has led to more human-wildlife conflict, one of the community members was killed by a buffalo while going to fetch water. There have also been problems with lions attacking the settlers camels. So far one camel has been killed and two injured. The team went to the sight of the lion attack together with KWS Rangers but the lions did not appear for two days. The meeting the team has been holding with this community have finally started to show some positive signs. The community has taken an initiative to have scouts looking out for poachers which they then report to us or KWS. The scouts found some hidden Ivory this month which the poachers had hidden deep within the park. KWS was called to come and collect the tusks. The scouts also informed us that they had seen some poachers transporting a load of ivory which the authorities managed to catch and arrest thanks to their tipoff. The team arrested a poacher inside the park near Kasaala Gate who had been seen cutting wood early in the morning. The Team together with KWS arrested and booked the poacher at Mutomo Police Station. The team together with the fence attendants also lifted 69 snares in the area.

REPORT COMPILED BY PATRICK MUTUKU