Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2009

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 October 2009


Patrick Mutuku Musau Kitulya Labarakwe Lemanten James Lodungokiyok Noah Lesimrindana


During the month of October the Ithumba team together with the KWS Rangers was able to recover 4 pieces of ivory from deep inside the park. This was after they were spotted by the KWS pilot during his air patrols.

The pilot has been very consistent with his aerial patrols over the last two months. During the last week of the month the de-snaring team did joint patrols with the KWS rangers and were able to retrieve pieces of ivory from decomposed elephants. One of the dead elephants was at Tundani along the river Tiva stretch while the other was near Mukomwe hill at the South Kitui game reserve. The cause of death of the elephants is unknown although poaching with poisoned arrows is suspected. The rains came this month and were a relief for wildlife, human beings and domestic animals. The drought, one of the worst in years, could be compared to the one of 1970s when the elephant populations were almost wiped out due to lack of feeds and water. The river Athi dried up with the exception of the Tsavo River which originates from the Mzima springs and the Chyulu hills. Many animals died mostly due to lack of water especially baby elephants who were not able to walk long distances to water points. The pressure of illegal human activities has eased considerably with the onset of the rains. The other areas patrolled by the team this month were the Yatta plateau, Thabaguji, and Sheldrick blind. The areas looked very calm, probably due to the rains as most of the poachers and the community members are busy in the farms planting.


During the month of October we carried out 4 school trips instead of the usual 2 trips. The reason for this is that the short rains were due at any time which renders the roads in the Northern area of Tsavo impassable. Where therefore carried out the trips at an earlier date in order to avoid disappointment.

Kakindu primary school This school is situated near Kimathenya hill along the park boundary. The pupils have never had a chance of touring the park despite being only a few kilometers from the school. The pupils are normally picked at exactly 6.am for so that they can get as much out of the experience as possible. The trip starts by climbing Ithumba hill at the park headquarters before proceeding towards the southern part of the park. Due to the dense and thick bushes the only places they are able to see wildlife is near the water points. The pupils were able to see buffaloes, elephants, waterbucks, lesser-kudu, giraffes, Oryx, gerenuk and zebras.

The trip could not have completed without visiting the orphaned elephants at the Ithumba stockade. While here the pupils and the teachers had the opportunity of feeding the baby elephants with their formula milk. They were later lectured by Mr. Benjamin the stockade manager.

KALULUINI, KIVUTI AND NGWATE PRIMARY SCHOOLS. These schools were taking part in their second trip to the park, but with a different group of pupils. Each school has around 400 pupils and the capacity of the bus is only 30 persons so it less than 1/3 of the school population that gets to visit the park per trip. The criteria for selecting the first group of pupils to visit the park is based on the best performers in class work, which makes the other pupils improve their academics to secure their chance of being chosen for a field trip.

Kaluluini primary school was the second school to visit the park this month and they got to see buffaloes, elephants, impalas, hunting dogs, zebras, waterbucks, giraffes and lesser-kudu.
Near Sangayaya we found the remains of a dead jackal. The other schools to go on a field trip were Kivuti primary and Ngwate primary school. They came across the remains of a dead impala and got to see a group of elephants with a calf that was too tired to walk.
On our return we found that it had gotten some rest and the herd had continued on their journey towards the water points.

LAUNCHING OF KASAALA PROJECT BY IFAW AND KWS During the last week of the month there was the launching of a project sponsored by IFAW and supervised by KWS, whose aim was to improve Kasaala School. This project has given the school a new face with the renovation of old classrooms, building 3 new classrooms, a new administration block, a kitchen, and a modern library. The launching of the project was attended by the Mutomo district commissioner, the District education officer, the area member of parliament, the area councilor, the Assistant Director Tsavo region, the senior warden, and the Warden Northern area among others.

Report by Patrick Mutuku