Wambua Kikwatha - team leader Patrick Ekai James Londunyo Philip Kipkorl Peter Eyanai Simon Llokelen Kiloku Dickson
During the course of this month the Ithumba team patrolled the following areas: Mkoka, Tundai, Kyamanyenze, the Tiva stretch, the Kimweli Kasaala boundary, Mathae area and Kalovoto.
TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 203
Findings Our operations took place after a break of two months which was due to the lack of de-snaring personnel and the shortage of rangers. For two consecutive months the KWS rangers from the Ithumba area were needed for the Galana Bandits operations. For this reason our station was left shorthanded which affected our monthly de-snaring operations. This month we were able to acquire two rangers from the Ithumba de-snaring team who were able to assist us with our de-snaring operations.
We started the month by discreetly assessing the de-snaring situation in the area. This was done by driving up the main road, and checking the main tracks that the poachers used to use to enter and leave the park. We found that despite us not having patrolled these areas for a couple of months the tracks were not in use. This could be due to the poachers either using new tracks or operating in new areas of the park. Our intelligence revealed that many of the known poachers had turned to charcoal burning as a source of income. Charcoal burning is rampant in this region which has caused the subsequent reduction in the number of trees in the area, especially along the Tiva River. Poachers have turned to charcoal burning as they can carry out this activity in their own farms. They find this to be a less stressful and hazardous way to make money. It has been established that on a daily basis a minimum of 6 trucks ferry charcoal from Kasaala.
A number of new poaching tracks were found to be active along the Kasaala – Kimweli boundary. Most of the tracks did not yield any arrests due to the fact that the poachers only use them as access points. We were able to find and recover 195 snares set for small game and 8 snares that targeted big game.
Next month we will be focusing our de-snaring efforts further into the interior of the park so as to better establish which poaching and illegal activities are taking place deeper in the park.
COMMUNITY WORK At the beginning of the month we completed exercises regarding the Tiva Athi fence sensitization program. We visited three communities during this time; Imathoka which is at the foot of the Yatta, and Ngwate primary, concluding our sensitization exercises at Nzoiani and Mukameni, which are also located at the foot of the Yatta.
Some of the other community exercises that we carried out this month included a video show at Kasaala secondary school, Kasaala and Ngwate primary schools and a presentation about Indigenous forests at Ikutha girls secondary school.