Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 May 2009

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 May 2009

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya 2 KWS Rangers – Nicholas Mutegi & Thomas Chengo

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered included Kalovoto, the power line and Kanziko.

730 SNARES COLLECTED 2 POACHERS ARRESTED

Findings During the month of May the Ithumba team lifted 73 snares, 66 of which targeted small gave, while the rest targeted medium sized game. The team arrested 2 poachers at Kalovoto near Kimathenya hill.

Observable Evidence Due to the persistent drought, the communities neighboring the park are entering the park in ever increasing numbers. There are a lot of footprints being seen by the team during our patrols. Logging is also on the increase especially in the Umbi area where there is a ready market charcoal and wood.

Patrols at Macho-kobo, Tundani, and Uma-uma The April patrols were a follow up to Februarys patrols, with the team revisiting most of the areas patrolled in past months. We began April’s patrols at Macho-kobo, Tundani and Uma-uma. We were able to arrest two notorious elephant poachers at Macho-kobo. One of the poachers upon arrest several years ago had reformed and had been working as a tracker with the Gazi desnaring team. It is sad to see that he has gone back to the illegal activities that he had rejected. The two poachers were found in possession of 40 snares, bushmeat and other personal effects. The two were booed at Voi police station where they received a sentence of two years imprisonment or a fine of 100,000 shillings.

Patrols at the Kalovoto, the Power line, and Kanziko It has come to our attention that poachers have been watching us and taking note of the times when most of our patrols are carried out. They are using this information to enter the park at different times to the team in order to evade arrest. We have noticed that they are found in the park in the early morning or at night. We started our monthly patrols at Kalovoto on the 6th of May and on the first day we were out were able to arrest 2 poachers who were in possession of bushmeat (from lesser kudus) and 39 snares targeting small game. The poachers were also found with 3 poisoned arrows.

The two culprits were booked at Voi police station and were sentenced to 2 years in jail for their offences. The following day we patrolled the same area and lifted a further 34 snares 7 of which targeted medium sized game. This month we only carried out patrols for a period of 5 days as the KWS rangers who are assigned to accompany us during out patrols were deployed to other duties and thus we were not able to continue patrolling as usual.

Community Awareness campaign On the 13th of the month we visited Kisou primary school and Kasala primary school in order to let them know that they would be going on a field trip into the park at the end of the month. We also visited Kavete primary school in order to make arrangements for the donating of 30 desks to the school where most of the pupils study under trees due to the lack of classrooms.

The following day we paid a visit to Kakithya primary school to make the necessary arrangements for the desk donation. The school has 249 students currently enrolled with most of the students sitting on the ground during classes. The new desks will help with the problem, but more are required.

On the 16th we visited Kone community where we held a series of meetings with the community leaders about wildlife conservation.

One of the issues discussed was the possibility of the youth becoming community wildlife scouts who would be on the look out for poachers and thus be able to report and incidences and suspicions to the team.

On the 18th all the desnaring team leaders met in Nairobi to attend a symposium on the bushmeat trade. The issue of sensitizing the communities about the need to embrace the wildlife that belongs to them was one of the issues discussed. The ready available market for bushmeat is another issue that needs to be targeted and addressed.

On the 26th and 27th Kavete and Kakithya primary schools both received a donation of 30 desks from the trust.

The events were well attended by parents, teachers, local leaders and pupils.
We discussed the pressure that the communities are putting on the park and on the wildlife in their areas. The parents promised to join hands with s in the war on the illegal bushmeat trade.

On the 28th and 29th of the month we organized two school trips for Kasaala and Kisou primary schools. The students visited places like Kiasa hill, Lugards falls, as well as the Tiva and Athi rivers, and they got to see wildlife for the first time.

They were lucky to see an abundance of wildlife such as buffaloes, elephants, ostriches, crocodiles, hippos, giraffes, impalas, gerenuks, waterbuck, cheetah, zebra, lesser-kudu, warthogs and gazelles.
We also took the students to Galdessa camp where they were able to see an elephant that had been nicknamed ‘Mugambe.’
They also visited the dog section at the Ithumba park headquarters and ended their trip with a visit to the Ithumba orphans.
The pupils and teachers were very grateful and felt that they lacked the words to express their heartfelt gratitude.

Report by Patrick Mutuku