Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 March 2002

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 March 2002

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De-snaring report for March and April

Area of Operation

The March April operation was a revisit of most of the areas patrolled during the previous operation. These areas are Umbi, along Tiva River, area next to Ithumba Hill, Kimathenya boundary and on the Yatta Plateau

Participants

Wambua Kikwatha Francis Itumo Kisangi Munywoki Odero Adero Samuel KWS Rangers

Findings

As noted in the latest report, poacher’s movements in these areas are very unpredictable. Their long time experience in poaching and knowledge of the Park enable them to know when, where and how to poach with less or minimal interference by the wildlife enforcement officers. To be effective in counteracting their motives, the desnarers must learn their movements. Our tracker, who has overwhelming experience in poaching has been very useful during our operations.

Our team revealed that there are the hard-core poachers who trek for long distances inside the Park and are equipped with food and blankets. They stay in the Park poaching for a couple of weeks. This group is operational in all seasons. The other group, (mentioned in previous report) couple poaching with farming. They poach fairly close to their farms and relax snaring in the rains.

Since we started de-snaring in the Northern area this group has been deterred to a large extent. Most of the tracks de-snared previously are snare free currently. The tracks are used mainly by loggers and poachers en route to the interior. Understanding the operations of the two groups is very important because we can drive right to, or near to the poachers’ destination instead of tracking them from the boundary. We would also like to change our approach, by having facilities that will enable us to spend two or more nights in the field without using tents. This would be particularly good for the Yatta operations.

During this operation 414 snares were recovered, 6 poachers arrested by our rangers, 6 axes (for removing tusks), 2 pangas, bows and poisoned arrows were recovered. Also 4 poachers were arrested during the Yatta operation. The Yatta operation took us two days walking from Tharakana air strip to the boundary, over 35 km. We observed that the top of the Yatta has low human activity. Poachers now concentrate on the Tiva River area and the Athi. Daniel Woodley, during an aircraft patrol identified a hideout on the Yatta where masses of snares, bows/arrows were recovered. Our next target is to patrol this area of the Yatta as well as revisiting the areas already patrolled.

Community Project

The community awareness is picking up tremendously. We have observed a great change in the community’s attitude and willingness to work with us. Before the closing of schools we managed to visit Kimweli, Kasala Primary and Secondary, Ngwate and Kivuti Primary Schools. Three schools enjoyed watching wildlife films while we had talks with the rest of the schools. Kimweli Wildlife Club has already started planting indigenous trees. This is on a trial basis because this area is not very conducive to tree planting. The members lifted self germinated tree seedlings during the rainy season from their school land. They will water the seedlings until they are ready for transplanting. Our team also visited a tree planting project at Miangeni (10 ks from Ikutha town) to explore the possibility of starting our tree nurseries in future. If the Kimweli project is successful, the plan is to facilitate tree planting in all schools, and with the entire community.

On the Sports front, the club we mobilised near the Park Boundary is doing very well. We have taken advantage of ongoing tournaments to reach the youth. Video shows have been shown at Kimweli and Kasala during these competitions. Plans are under way to organize our tournaments, targeting clubs within Kasala location.

Report compiled by Wambua Kikwatha