Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 March 2005
Paul Kasau Kisangi Munywoki Kipkoril Philip Samuelk Lolchuraki Adan Abdi Julius Mumo Ekai Patrick Wambua Kikwatha Bet Weri Ismail Shongolo Wekesa Nyangweso KWS section of rangers
The areas patrolled during this month are along Kalovoto lagga, along the power line, Ithumba hill general area, the Yatta, along the Tiva River, Umbi area, Shimo la Shetani, Wamata and the Roka area.
During this period, the operation was carried out in all major snaring hot spots. This is a cross check of the areas that would help us plan for the coming operations effectively. From the previous operations, it has been noted that poachers have changed their areas of operation as well as their poaching tactics. This fact has been confirmed during this month’s operation. It was observed that poachers enter the park before dawn and walk for very long distances into the park while in the past some poachers used to snare near the park boundary as others went deeper into the park.
It was observed that the number of snares have gone down. This could be attributed to the fact that de-snaring operations have been going on consistently. The poachers find it difficult to replace snares picked up by the de-snaring teams. Following the arrest of several poachers this year, man poachers perhaps have stopped poaching or have come up with new strategies that we don’t currently know. Evidently, known tracks that were being used by poachers were found abandoned and fresh small trails were observed to have been made. Poachers try to conceal their spoors by using different bush craft such as crawling like a baboon, jackal or hopping on their heels. All this leaves behind confusing marks that are suspected to be those of the said animals. The other trick used is that the poachers walk backwards from the boundary into the park, thus creating an impression that they have left the park. In such situations we were concentrating on the footprints that enter the park in the hope of arresting the poachers when infact they we ended up leaving them at large.
Along the Kalovoto lagga, the de-snaring team found a poached buffalo. The buffalo had been killed by a poison arrow. We laid an ambush for one day hoping that the poacher would come back for the bush meat. Unfortunately, the poacher may have seen us and he did not return. Along the power line, snaring is still high although not as high as in the previous months. A total of 69 snares were lifted in a single day’s operation. A total of 200 snares were lifted during the entire operations. Only 9 snares targeted big game whilst the rest targeted small game.
On Friday the 18th of March, a bush meat crisis convened at Tsavo West Head Quarters (Kamboyo). The meeting was attended by the heads of security and partnership officers from the KWS headquarters, as well as wardens from Tsavo East, West and other areas. All the de-snaring team leaders were invited to attend the meeting. Issues on curbing the bush meat crisis were discussed at length. Among other things, it was resolved that high profile operations need to be mounted at the affected areas. As a result, a joint operation took place at the Northern boundary of Tsavo East. The operation comprised of the Gazi and Ithumba de-snaring teams, the Ithumba KWS section of rangers and the investigation team. The operation was being coordinated by the senior warden of the Northern area, Mr. Woodley.
The areas covered during this operation were the Tiva river stretch, the top of the Yatta plateau, Tundai, Kyamanyeze, along the Kimweli Kasaala boundary, Macho Kombo, Tharakana and Kiasa general area. As mentioned above, the snaring levels have drastically decreased. Therefore the result of the operation was not as expected. Being the beginning of the rainy season, many poachers have gone back home to prepare their farms for planting. No arrests were made
Wambua Kikwatha – Ithumba Team leader