Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2007

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2007

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ITHUMBA TEAM

De – Snaring Report for October 2007

Participants

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

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered were Mukua-Nima, the general Gazi area, Buffalo bent, opposite the Moody Awori farm, the general area of Tsavo Safari Camp, Tundani and Lagga-Kungu.

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 612 ARRESTS 2

Findings

During the first week of the month of October the Ithumba desnaring team patrolled the Tiva river stretch. The area had a lot of fresh animal tracks as well as footprints. No signs of illegal activities were seen there or around Lagga-Kungu. The river has a considerable amount of water flow for the time of year, especially as the area has been experiencing a dry spell over the past few months. Together with the Kijito technicians the team visited the Ndia-Ndasa windmill in order to repair the metal piece that holds the pump rods. The windmill is still functioning well and we were pleased to see a flock of weaver birds, numbering in the thousands, enjoying the water.

Since the month of June the Gazi area has not been patrolled. We therefore moved our camp into the area from the second week of the month, approaching Gazi from the Mukua-Nima gate. We noticed that in the area from the Gazi airstrip towards the roads junction a bushfire had been lit. Thankfully the newly graded road acted as a firebreak preventing the bushfire from spreading and causing damage to a large portion of the park. We followed some fresh footprints, which led us across the Yatta to the point where we were looking out at the Tiva river. This was an important discovery for the team as it showed that the poachers can move all the way from Kibwezi in order to set snares along the Tiva river. We decided to lay an ambush the next day along the river. We spotted the poacher crossing into the park from another point and followed him. Unfortunately we were not able to arrest him but we were able to lift 30 small snares that he had set. The next day we patrolled towards the Yatta and were able to lift 240 snares. The snares had probably been set a few weeks ago and most of the animals in the area had either been snared or had migrated to a safer area, as we did not come across any signs of snared wildlife. Furthermore we observed that there was a lot of illegal grazing taking place across the Athi river. Logging was also evident along the river.

As we moved further downstream we found more illegal activities taking place inside the parks boundaries. In this area there are a number of large farms that use the river to irrigate their crops and fields. The laborers who work in these farms are the same people who poach along the river making it difficult to arrest the culprits. We were able to lift 175 snares that had been set for medium sized game. A poacher was able to evade arrest as he spotted us before we saw him. He left behind three poisoned arrows, a bow, a big knife, a pair of other shoes and some other items.

We were able to arrest two people for illegal grazing inside the park. The two culprits were booked at Kibwezi police station. We lifted 60 snares that targeted small game and found a dead snared Dikdik.

Most of the illegal activities that we came across are concentrated along the river where we also found a fresh poachers camp which had fresh skins and hides in it.

In the area opposite the Moody Awori farm, inside the park, we were able to lift 49 snares and followed a set of fresh footprints, which led out of the park. The following day we lifted a further 38 snares from the same area, 12 of which targeted large game.

During the last week of the month the team concentrated its efforts on community initiatives. We visited the Kavete Primary school, located along the fence-line, and together with the parents and teachers, held a public baraza. We also paid a courtesy call to the area chief’s office. Report by Patrick Mutuku