Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 July 2010

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 July 2010

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PARTICPANTS

Patrick Mutuku

Musau Kitulya

Noah Lesirmindana

Lemanten Labarakwe

James Lodungokiyok

2 KWS Rangers

Areas Covered

During the month of July the Ithumba Team patrolled the following areas: Kyamanyenze, Mathae, Kalovoto, Tundani, Power line, Umbi, Gazi general area.

28 Snares lifted

2 Arrested poachers

FINDINGS

During the course of the month a total of 28 snares were lifted. The poaching trends seem to have currently shifted from laying of snares to the use of shooting platforms using bows and arrows as well as lamping. The Team found several shooting platforms at waterholes. This was a pointer that big game is being targeted this time of the year. Most of the poachers are aware of the Teams presence and that any snares they set will be lifted, which is a possible contributing factor as to why they have neglected this poaching tactic for the time being.

OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE

The team began its operations by checking on some of the areas that had been patrolled last month to ascertain if there were any poaching activities still taking place. The Team began by patrolling in Kyamanyenze area where it was found that a lot of logging along the river Tiva was being carried out. The tree being targeted a lot is mellia vonkensii. This is a hard wood that is preferred because it is good and valuable timber, and it is never attacked by termites. The loggers had already harvested big logs and moved out. At Umbi area which is mainly a hotspot for logging, was the same story.

The Team found heavy logging going on. The loggers had cut the logs and do the shaping of the logs in very open ground in an effort to allow themselves to see security personnel approaching early enough and escape. The loggers also seem to make use of the full moon light and carry out most of the illegal activities at night.
The next place to patrol was Mathae and its adjacent areas. This area has a lot of the wild elephants who have moved from Tiva to around Imenti waterhole near park headquarters where water supply is plentiful. The Team sighted 20 wild elephants with young ones in this area.

At most of the waterholes visited the Team found old or new shooting platforms.

The poachers use these to shoots big game as they come to drink water. The Team found a fresh and active shooting platform at Tundani. This could be the reason that the elephants are shying away from this areas as opposed to before. Most of these shooting platforms are used by poachers at night. Most of the areas we patrolled around Ithumba had very few snares although there were fresh footprints. This was a pointer to lamping activities because these footprints were found mainly in open ground.

      During patrols in the Gazi area, there was evidence of a lot of illegal activities including charcoal burning in the park just along the Athi River.

The poachers and loggers had deliberately blocked the road in an effort to hinder the wildlife protection authorities from patrolling.  The team managed to arrest one poacher and one charcoal burner in this area.
One of them had a roll of marijuana [cannabis sativa] in his possession. Both men were booked at Kibwezi police station. The Team saw poachers across the Athi River who were so daring that they shouted threats to the Team.  The Team feels this area needs a lot of patrols in order to get control of the situation. All snares lifted this month were found in this area. Out of the total 28 snares, 18 of these were for big game and were mainly set on animal trails leading to the river.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMME

Wildlife Film screening & School trip for Kaluluini primary school

 The pupils were shown a wildlife film on 20/7/2010 before going for the trip to the park. This was aimed at preparing the pupils on what they were to see later.

The trip took place on the 22/7/2010, this was the third school trip for the pupils in this school. The pupils were picked up from their school grounds in the early morning. They began their day by climbing Ithumba hill before heading to the elephant mudbath. While there the pupils watched the orphaned elephants raised by DSWT take their milk and enjoy a play in the mud. The elephant Keepers gave a lecture about the orphaned elephants & conservation of wildlife. The students enjoyed this experience thoroughly. 

The students were then taken to the Banda’s where they received a talk from the staff there. They were shown around before heading to the Tiva River were they enjoyed game drives and a lunch picnic. Unfortunately following their lunch the bus got stuck in the sand for about three hours. Due to this incident the trip was delayed a little and some of the attraction planned for the afternoon had to be cancelled. Nevertheless the students loved the experience and for the first time were exposed to the wildlife and beauty of the National Park that neighbours their home village.

School trip for Kavete primary school

During the trip the students visited some of the main attraction of the northern areas of Tsavo such as the Ithumba hill, the orphans mudbath at noon, games drives, Tiva river, Kiasa Hill, the orphans stockades the Ithumba Camp.

During games drives the students were very excited to see wild elephants at Imenti waterhole and a leopard on their way out. They also saw got to meet a dikdik at the Camp that was rescued by one of the children from the community, and is now being hand raised by keepers and released back into the wild.  The pupils went home very happy; such an experience will have a positive influence on these children. During the course of the day some of the children confessed to have eaten bush meat at home. There is a clear indication that more anti-poaching work & community work is needed in these villages.