Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 June 2006

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 June 2006

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku Felix Micheni Peter Ndunugu Muteti Feisal Samuel Lolchuraki James Lodungkiyok Lemanten Lambarakwe Julius Mumo Mutua Koti Boru Okicha 4 KWS Rangers

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the Gazi and Ithumba team worked together due to the Gazi team’s vehicles being sent to Nairobi for service as it had a problem with the starter motor. The areas patrolled included Mathae, Kyamanyenze, Tundani, Lagga Kungu, the general area around Gazi, Kona ya Nyati, Cotters upstream, and the Moody Awori Farm and its surroundings.

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 564 ARRESTS 3

Findings

The past month has been a very busy one with both the keepers and de-snaring teams were putting the final touches on the elephant stockades being constructed at Ithumba. The first week of the month was spent removing the debris left behind by the builders.

During the 2nd week we started our de-snaring operations. We began our patrols at Mathea which is near the park fence line. We were able to lift 26 snares that targeted small game and saw foot prints that lead out of the park. An old and disused poacher’s hideout was discovered by the team in the Mathea area.

The following day we patrolled up to the Kasaala gate where we lifted a total of 195 snares the majority of which targeted small game. At the Kyamanyenze area which is near the Tiva River we lifted 17 small snares. We then moved our operations to Tundani and the power line were 28 snares were removed one of which targeted large game. Another poacher’s hideout was found in this area. A pilot flying over the Gazi area reported that he saw a lot of charcoal burning taking place inside the park.
After receiving this information we moved into the Gazi area on the 21st of the month and were able to arrest 3 charcoal burners, unfortunately the other 2 accomplices managed to escape.
Upon interrogation we found out that the team came from an area called Masongaleni which is located 15KM from the park. The charcoal burners had moved to the park after having destroyed all the vegetation in and around their community.

During the last week of the month we moved to Cotters upstream where there was a lot of snaring taking place.

A lot of fresh poacher’s trails were seen and 164 snares were lifted from around the Moody Awori Farm 7 of which targeted large game. We were able to same the lives of 2 Dikdiks that had gotten caught in wire snares.
At Kona ya Nyati a further 64 snares were lifted most of them a few meters distance from the river. The poachers have changed their areas of operation in an effort to confuse us; they have even begun trying to conceal their foot prints when crossing rivers and roads. The park gate attendants gave us information about a group of poachers who were laying leopard traps. It had been discovered that they were killing wild pigs and putting the carcasses in treetops, metallic traps were then set under the tree to try and trap a leopard.
Thankfully the traps were removed before any leopards were killed or injured. Unfortunately we were not able to arrest the perpetrators.

Community awareness On the 15th of the month we met with the warden of the northern area and the Mukua Nima community to make arrangements about the clearing of the cut line where the Tiva–Athi fence extension in supposed to cross. We met some of the fence committee members who displayed an eagerness and willingness to support the project. The community has divided into 4 groups; two for the Mukua Nima sub location and two for the Ngati sub location. 2 KWS rangers will be overseeing the 45 casuals who will be participating in the project.

We were able to show wildlife films to both the Kivuti and Tsavo Primary Schools. During the show the pupils were educated about the benefits of sustainable utilization of their resources as well as the need to conserve wildlife and the environment. The Ithumba Kasaala Road up to Ngwate, which is in dire need of repair, is being graded during the course of the following month. This will be a great help to us as the road was causing damage to both the trusts vehicles and those of the KWS.

Report by Patrick Mutuku and Felix Micheni