Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2006

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2006

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya Rajab Hamisi 2 KWS Rangers

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered were: The Kasaala fence line, Kanziko, Syomanyenze, Tundani, Lagga Kungu, and the Shetani caves.

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 379 2 ARRESTS

Findings

The first week of the month the team was preparing to receive the US Trustees and friends. On the 6/10/06 they came to inspect all the projects that the Trust has undertaken at Ithumba and in the Northern area of Tsavo.

They were impressed by the infrastructure development. The team was also kept busy with the re-opening of roads along the Tiva river stretch which had been blocked by fallen trees.

This month the team dedicated its de-snaring efforts to the setting up of observation points and the laying of ambushes. The team decided to change its strategy in order to enable it to arrest the poachers who have been reported to be entering the park on a daily basis. This change in conjunction with the gathering of information was successful and the team was able to arrest 4 poachers, unfortunately a fifth poacher was able to evade arrest. One of our informers was able to show us how in the dry season the poachers extract water from narrow holes using grass tufts, allowing us to see how even in the dry season poachers are able to remain in the park for long periods of time.

The teams de-snaring operations were disrupted by the withdrawal of the rangers as they were needed to help with security problems elsewhere. Another problem that hindered our operations was the breakdown of our vehicle. Nevertheless the team kept itself busy setting ambushes, setting observation points, and carrying out vehicle patrols, so as to make our presence felt. After receiving information from our informers we laid an ambush on the 17/10/06 near the Kimweli gate. A poacher appeared at the time relayed to us by the informers and crossed the fence. Unfortunately he noticed us and was able to evade arrest. The following day we laid an ambush at the power-line and were able to arrest a poacher who had crossed the fence-line. The poacher then took us to his snares.

On the 19/10/06 we spotted another poacher and followed him to see where he would go and came across 178 snares waiting to be laid.
On the 20/10/06 we arrested two women who were cutting grass deep inside the park. The women were handed over to the local chief to be reprimanded.
On the 26/10/06 we were able to arrest a poacher who had entered the park and was busy setting his snares. We found him in possession of 100 snares, after he had already set 40.

We have noticed an increase in the number of wildlife found near the park headquarter. Two ostriches have been spotted along the road on the way to the Kasaala gate and a number of cheetahs and a pride of lions have been seen near the park base. This could be due to the availability of water at the stockade which means that the predators are following their prey who come to the stockades to quench their thirst.

A hydrologist came to do water exploration in the area and was able to identify three locations where there could be the presence of underground water.

Community Awareness

This month our community awareness initiatives were carried out in the Kanziko area. We visited the Kakithya community and showed them several wildlife films.

At the same time we gave lectures about conservation issues. It is interesting to note that the poachers arrested during the course of the month told us that their children had been telling them about what they had seen on the conservation videos shown to them by our de-snaring team. Another video show was shown at Kimweli primary school.
The schools in the area have begun to rehearse songs and poems that could be aired on the local radios stations.

Report by Patrick Mutuku