Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2005

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2005

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku – team leader Alex Macharia James Lodugukiyok Mutual Koti Patrick Ekai 2 KWS rangers

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the Ithumba team patrolled the following areas: Chemanyenze, the Tiva area and the Fence line, Corner ya mwambili, Ithumba hill and Mathae and the Umbi area.

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 169

Findings

This month’s operations began in the Tundani area with the team being accompanied by the BBC crew. There was hardly any activity in the area and thus our poaching operations were kept to a minimum. After Tundani the team camped at Tiva where we tried to patrol on both sides of the river in order to assess the amount of snaring going on. We noticed that logging activities were taking place, especially in the community areas, where we also lifted a few snares. Following a tip from an informant we laid an ambush along the Tiva River where a buffalo had been shot with a poisoned arrow.

The dead buffalo had a big wound where the poacher had cut out the chunk of flesh surrounding the arrows entry point. We feel that the poachers did this in order to prevent the poison from the arrow from spreading through the rest of the carcass. Unfortunately our ambush did not yield any arrests. We did however nearly run into a lion which was feasting on a poached buffalo.

We tried to change our operational methods this month by striking early in the morning and carrying out our ambushes in the evening. We noticed that some rock mining activities which are taking place along the parks borders are now encroaching into the park itself. At Umbi we noted that there is a lot of logging taking place and we found numerous bicycle trails in the area. We were able to arrest a poacher who was in the process of collecting wild honey. Unfortunately another two poachers escaped when they heard the commotion. After interrogating the poacher he directed us to his hideout where we had a stash of honey and game meat which was being dried in the tree tops.

The game meat was from Dikdiks, Lesser Kudus, Ostriches and we also found a Cheetah skin
We also confiscated bows, poisoned arrows, pans, blankets, knives and a bicycle that were found in the poachers hideout.
We discovered that this was a well organized poaching syndicate who worked in groups. While one group brings in water and takes the meat to market, the second group slaughters the snared animals bringing the carcass back to the hideout in order to dry the meat so that it can be sold at the Kanziko and Mutha markets. The arrested poacher was booked at Mutomo police station where he is waiting to be charged.
Next month we plan to carry out a large operation from Umbi to Mukomwe. In addition, due to the availability of a KWS pilot, we will be able to carry out an aerial survey that will enable us to mark all the entry routes into the park. We collected a total of 169 snares this month and arrested one poacher.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS

At the beginning of the month together with the aid of technicians from Kinjito we were able to repair the windmills at Kone and Ndia-ndada. We also attended an important bush meat meeting at Voi, which was also attended by many ranchers.

We showed wildlife films to two primary schools and hare in the process of making desks for the schools. With the coming of the rains we will try to mobilize the community and get them to plant some tree seedlings as due to logging and charcoal burning the area is fast loosing its vegetation.

Report by Patrick Mutuku