Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 June 2008

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 June 2008

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya Peter Ndungu 2 KWS Rangers

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered included Umbi, Lagga-Kugu, Nthalakana, Sheldrick blind, Macho-Kobo, Tsavo safari camp, Buffalo bent and the area opposite the Awori farm.

135 SNARES COLLECTED

1 ARREST

Findings During the month of June the Ithumba team managed to lift a total of 135 snares, 70 of which targeted big game and 65 targeting small game. The team was able to arrest one elephant poacher after receiving information from a reformed poacher. The arrested individual was made to assist us in lifting snares before being booked at Mtito Andei police station.

Observable Evidence The snaring patters and techniques in the areas visited have changed over the past few months. The poachers are now moving further into the park to carry out their illegal activities, which is something that was not expected. The poachers have taking to using bows and poisoned arrows as well as engaging in lamping. During its patrols the team has noticed that the poachers have began operating along the Athi river stretch and have established hideouts in the thick bushes found in the community areas bordering the park. Some other poachers are found to be moving past Thabaguju to Grenade valley in search of bigger game.

Umbi and Lagga-kugu The team began its patrols at the end of the first week of the month. Our patrols stared in the Umbi area where we rescued a Dikdik that had become trapped in a snare along the Umbi fence line.

As we entered the park we saw fresh bicycle tracks and followed them for a period of three days only to find them exited the park via another route. The bicycles had probably been used to transport something heavy. We were able to lift 18 snares during our patrols all of which targeted small game.
A poacher’s hideout containing a plank of timber was also uncovered as was a poacher’s bed in a tree top.

Nthalakana airstrip, Sheldrick blind and Macho-Kobo Our aim in these areas was to check all the water points as these area the areas where poachers are erecting shooting platforms from which they are better able to target large game. While carrying out our patrols we came across some footprints that began at the Athi River and went all the way across the Yatta to the Tiva River in the Northern area of the park. We found a dead Dikdik in a poacher’s camp and also found a snared baby Dikdik.

Tsavo safari camp, Buffalo bent and opposite the Awori farm These areas all had signs of many illegal poaching activities taking place. We were able to lift 77 large snares which had been set along the animal trails along the Athi river stretch. We followed the footprints that led us to a farm across the river where we were able to arrest a poacher.

The poacher was a repeat offender whom we had arrested in March. He denied the charges brought against him and claimed that the set snares did not belong to him. He then decided to co-operate with the team and gave us some information which led us to several poachers hideouts located on the community side of the Athi river stretch. This poacher will now be used as an informer in an effort to help us apprehend other culprits.

We were also able to arrest an elephant poacher, as he crossed the river into the park. The poacher was only 17 years of age.

He was interrogated and gave us vital information which will be very useful in future patrols carried out by the team. The culprit was made to lift the 37 large snares that he had set before being booked at Mtito-Andei police station. Unfortunately another two poachers were able to evade arrest.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS During the first week of the month we organized a football competition between the Ithumba football club and the community youth clubs.

The sports competition was carried out in an effort to keep the youth busy and away from all illegal activities, especially poaching. The competition has also served to build good relations with the communities in the area.

During the last week of the month we were able to donate 40 new desks to Tsavo primary school.

The desks have metal frames and a wooden top so as to minimize any damage caused by termites. The entire school community was exceedingly grateful for the donation as they had been working with only 26 desks that had also been donated to them by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in 2006. Most of the schools pupils had been following their lessons while sitting on the ground so they will now have desks to sit at. The local leaders who were present at the time of the donation have promised to mobilize the community in an effort to work with the team and reject any community members who engage in illegal activities.

Report by Patrick Mutuku