De-snaring reports for May and June 2002
Area of Operation
The May/June patrols covered the area between Umbi, Ithumba, Ithuma area, along the Tiva River and the Yatta.
Wambua Kikwatha – Team leader Francis Itumo Samuel Odero Munywoki Kisangi Martin Wambua KWS Rangers
Patrols were successful. This month marks the start of the peak snaring period from June to November snaring is always very high. This is due to availability of animals at water points, openness of vegetation, and lack of much commitment to farming. Poachers now find time to poach even in the interior. The desnaring team is becoming more knowledgeble with the Northern area as well as understanding the poachers movements. We have a remarkable improvement in the relationship with the Community which enables us to get vital information about who are the poachers, where, how, and when they poach.
Since we started desnaring, the poachers now avoid snaring along or near access roads. They resort to trecking many kilometers, and sometimes spending nights in the Park. This is a common practice with the Kitui poachers. The de-snaring team has now adopted the poachers style. Loaded with water, food, and sleeping bags, the team track the poachers to their destination collecting snares. In May, the team walked from Mkoka through Roka to Bisadi, it took us three days. Similar patrols were done at Umbi and Tundani.
The Umbi operation enabled our rangers to arrest a wanted logger with a bicycle, two logs and an axe. According to him he operated with two more people who were arrested last year and seem to have stopped logging. Melia Volkensae species is threatened in the Northern Area. A high demand for timber in Mutha, Ikutha, Kasaala and Mutomo towns encourage logging. This practice coupled with rampant charcoal burning raises a lot of concern.
A total of 1,215 snares were collected. Altogether in June we collected 950 and inMay 265. Ten percent targeted big game, while the rest targeted dik dik, warthog, and antelope.
May and June was marked with and increase in community activities. All the schools incorporated in the community awareness were visited. Video shows and talks took place in 9 schools. On 25th May, in conjunction with Ikutha Secondary School wildlife club, we invited the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, Regional Education Officer to the school. Various Primary School clubs convened at the school for talks, advice and later a wildlife film show. On a another occasion we planted trees at Ikutha School.
Through the Kimwele Head Teacher, we organized a community meeting, at the school ground. Kimwele, Kasaala and Malatani community attended the meeting. Later we showed two wildlife films.
Report compiled by Wambua Kikwatha