Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 May 2007
Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya Rajab Hamisi 2 KWS Rangers
During the course of this month the areas covered were: Umbi, Kanziko, Mathae, the Kasaala fence line, Kyae rock, Tundani, Mkua-Nima and the general Gazi area.
TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 159
Upon resumption of its duties the team received a report from reliable sources that the poacher that had been found dead in the park in April had been attacked by a disturbed elephant. The poachers and shot at the elephant using poisoned arrows and it was at this time that the elephant charged the poachers killing one of them. In order to avoid arrest the poachers had changed their story saying that he had died of dehydration.
We began the month’s patrols by revisiting the areas that we had patrolled in March. Due to the beginning of the honey hunting season we have witnessed an influx of poachers into the park. This was made evident by the many footprints that we came across during out patrols. We also received intelligence information from the community about the high rate of illegal activities taking place. During the first week of our operations we were able to lift some snares around the park headquarters.
During the second week we moved our operations to Mkua-Nima and the general Gazi area where we were overwhelmed by the number of illegal activities taking place. On the second day of our patrols we visited a frequented charcoal burning spot which is located about 13 kilometers from the river. We were spotted by 3 poachers who were crossing the river from the park side. Upon moving further upstream we came across a fresh poacher’s hideout and decided to lay an ambush.
More tracks led us to an area containing many snares and we were able to lift 36 snares that targeted small and medium sized game. The footprints in the area indicated that the poacher had checked his snares in the morning and had then moved into the community areas. During the course of half a day we came across evidence of 8 poachers entering and leaving the park which makes us wonder how many enter and leave in a day.
The road from Thambaguji to the Gazi airstrip is currently being graded as it has gone ungraded for over 10 years.
The fence project has also progressed. The extension of the existing Kasaala fence line will be approximately 22kms from the Tiva River to the Athi River. The fence line will go a long way towards minimizing the human wildlife conflict in the area as currently both buffalo and elephants are entering the community areas and destroying the crops.
On the 30th of March the fence line attendants reported an elephant that had crossed the fence near the Kasaala gate by stepping on a rock and jumping into the community area.
The US board of Trustees paid a visit to Ithumba Headquarters on the 30th of March. They inspected the KWS workshop which is not well equipped and needs to be upgraded.
Report by Patrick Mutuku