Patrick Mutuku Musau Kitulya Noah Lesirmindana Lemanten Labarakwe James Lodungokiyok 2 KWS Rangers
During the month of June the Ithumba Team patrolled the following areas: Kalovoto, Kyamanyenze, Kyae-rock, Power line, Mathae, Nthalakana, Sheldrick’s Blind, Macho-kobo, near Moody Awori’s farm, Buffalo Bent, and Kanziko area.
During the course of the month a total of 118 snares were lifted. While carrying out patrols it became clear that poachers have changed their movements. The team re-visited several known poaching hotspots and hideouts. The hideouts were all unused yet poaching activities were high. The Team is therefore carrying out a thorough investigation in order to find the poachers trends & patterns.
The Northern Area of Tsavo had received good amounts of rain. As a result the area is still green and overgrown with vegetation. This has made it very difficult for poachers to lay snares and move around. Many of the poachers are therefore lighting fires in certain areas in order to clear thick bush and flush out wildlife. The burnt land will revive with new shoots which will attract small game that the poachers can target.
Patrols at Kalovoto, Mathae, and Powerline The Team began its patrols near Kimweli gate along the fence line in response to a tipoff from a regular informer regarding poachers entering the National Park on a daily basis. Findings showed clear evidence of poachers entering the Park, one poacher was so confident he wore new shoes which made tracking him easier. The team followed his tracks for two days without success. During patrols un the power line area 99 snares were lifted.
Patrols at Kyae-Rock, Kyamanyenze, and Tiva River stretch
These areas used to be poaching hotspots, but patrols yielded no snares. There were no sings of illegal human activities. This could be attributed to the long grass in these areas. The few footprints sighted were moving from one baobab tree to the next indicating the men were honey hunting. This is the peak period for honey hunting; the poachers come inside the park during the night to steal honey. This is destructive to the bees and is illegal to carry out inside the park boundary.
Patrols at Yatta area, Nthalakana, Sheldrick-blind, and Macho-kobo.
Poachers in these areas were very alert, taking great care to conceal their footprints on the paths to waterholes and when crossing roads. The Team lifted a snare targeting elephants along a path to a waterhole. The poachers had placed a big stone weighing more than 20kgs on top of a tree, this was attached to a cable loop on the ground fixed using weak pegs.
Patrols upstream of Tsavo safari camp, opposite Moody Awori farm, Buffallo bent, Kanziko, and along Kasaala fence-line
These areas had a lot of footprints heading to the top of Yatta. Much of the bush had been deliberately burned especially along the River Athi, opposite Moody Awori farm, and buffalo bent.
On 27/6/2010 a pilot spotted a poachers bed erected on top of a tree and informed the Team of the sighting. The tree was at the centre of a waterhole. The bed had been used for many years and there were many routes leading to the waterholes. The Team destroyed the bed and hideout and aggressively patrolled the area. This area will be re-visited in effort to arrest the poachers.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMME
On the last few days of May and in the beginning of June the Team hosted Alfred Mutua, the government spokesman at Ithumba area. Together a visit was arranged in the neighbouring community at Kanziko gate. The local leaders including the area chief, assistant chief, area councilor and the chairman Kitui county council accompanied him. The KWS Warden for the Northern also hosted the event.
School trips for Kasaala youth polythenic and Ngwate primary school
The Team arranged two school trips to the park. The trips involved touring the Tsavo northern area and visiting the main attractions. The first trip was for Kasaala youth polythenic. The students from this educational institution are from the areas bordering the Park.
REPORT COMPILED BY
PATRICK MUTUKU I/C ITHUMBA TEAM