Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2008

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2008

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya 2 KWS Rangers – Magara Job & Omar Ali

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered included Macho-kobo, Umbi, Umauma, Tundani, Kalovoto, Kanziko, Mathae, Kyae-rock, Kyamanyenze, the Tiva river stretch, the Power line, Lagga-kugu and Sheldrick blind.

208 SNARES COLLECTED 2 ARRESTS

Findings During the month of October the Ithumba team managed to lift a total of 208 snares. It has been noticed that during the dry season, when snaring is at its highest, the poachers tend to frequent the water points and they also often place their snares where you would least expect to find them including around the park headquarters and near the road.

Observable Evidence From the previous months reports we have noticed that the poachers a posing a serious threat to the orphaned elephants that we have managed to successfully reintroduce back to the wild. The security of the Trust’s orphans as well as that of the wild elephants in the Northern area is of paramount concern to the team. This is due to the fact that there has been an increase in the number of elephants in the area after years of absence due to being harassed and killed. All the security loopholes have to be sealed and patrolling in the area has to be increased and be given top priority. Although the number of snares lifted during the course of the year has decreased, there has been an increase in the number of poachers arrested, which is a contrast to past years when snaring would drastically increase during the dry season.

Tundani, Macho-kobo and Umauma During our patrols in the above area we came across several sets of footprints which led us to an area near a water spring where we were able to arrest two poachers in their camp. The poachers were in possession of a bow and two poisoned arrows, approximately 200kgs of bush meat and an axe.

We inspected every inch of the area around their camp and were able to lift 110 snares, 40 of which targeted large game and 70 targeting small game.
A dead Dikdik and a dead monkey were recovered from two of the snares.
We surmised that in an effort to reach the dead Dikdik and eat it the monkey also became trapped in a snare. The team also found a shooting platform that is used to hunt large animals such as buffalo and elephants coming to drink from the spring. Another 26 snares targeting small game were lifted during patrols along the Tiva River and in the Tundani area.

Kalovoto, Kanziko, Lagga-kuggu and Umbi These areas are all along the park fence line and over the past few months have showed a dramatic decrease in the amount of snaring. The team patrolled the Kanziko area and came across some footprints which led us to an area where we lifted 17snares. At Umbi logging and grass cutting are at an all time high during the dry season. During our patrols at Lagga-kugu we came across bicycle tracks which led out of the park.

Mathae, Powerline, Chamanyenze and Kyae rock Our patrols in these areas yielded 55 snares 8 of which targeted large game with 45 targeting small game. We came across a dead snared Dikdik at Mathae and followed some footprints which led us to an area that had been heavily logged.

Other footprints lead us to baobab trees where there are bee hives. This is an indication that the illegal harvesting of honey is taking place in the park. The team also uncovered a poacher’s bed atop a baobab tree. The bed could also be used as a shooting platform.

Community Awareness campaign During the first week of the month the team visited the Oroma community at Kone in the Tana River District. The visit took place after the machine powering the only borehole in the community broke down. The local people and their livestock had been without water for a period of 4 days. We visited the area together with a mechanic who fixed the problem. It was however not long before the machine broke down again due to poor handling and maintenance. We returned to fix the problem a second time.

Two schools were treated to field trips this month. On the 7th of October we organized a school trip to Tsavo national park for Kasaala secondary form four students. We have been conducting conservation awareness campaigns with the students in this class since they were in primary school.

During their field trip the students saw cheetahs, elephants, buffaloes, impalas, hippos, crocodiles, ostriches, and jackals as well as the Trust’s orphaned elephants at the Ithumba stockades.
A sad event during their field trip was finding a dead elephant on the road towards Lugards falls. KWS informed us that the elephant had died of a viral disease. The students promised to participate in conservation efforts and practices.

The second school to benefit from a field trip was Kakithya primary school.

This school is located along the park boundary in the Kanziko area, which is one of the remote areas of Kenya. The trip was deeply appreciated by everyone. The students got to see buffaloes, elephants, hippos, ostriches, waterbucks, zebras and the orphans at Ithumba.
The groups also visited scenic areas like Lugards falls, Kiasa hill, the Tiva River, Crocodile point and a rock that had been recently struck by lightning. They also received a lecture on the tracker dogs at the Ithumba park headquarters.

Report by Patrick Mutuku