Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 August 2008

Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 August 2008

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Participants

Alex Macharia – team leader Francis Chege Semeli Lolchuraki Nterito Kapina James Nuymu Vincent Mutua Joseph Kariuki 4 KWS rangers

Areas Covered

During the course of the month of August the following areas were patrolled by the Mtito de-snaring team: Kithasyu, Umani Springs in the Kibwezi Forest Reserve and along the Mtito River

99 SNARES COLLECTED

3 ARRESTS

Findings

Mtito River At the beginning of the month, for a period of four days, the Mtito desnaring team patrolled along the Mtito River where there has been an increase in the number of cattle being brought into the park to graze. Charcoal burning has increased in the past few months and is now a common occurrence. The team was not surprised to come across a snared lesser kudu while on patrol.

We were also able to lift 17 snares which targeted both small and large game.

Kibwezi forest reserve/Umani Springs During the second week of our patrols we broke camp and headed to the Kibwezi Forest to patrol the area around Umani Springs, an area that has recently been purchased by the Trust in order to conserve the springs and the Kibwezi forest. Our reason for going to the area was to offer security to the camp found near Umani Springs, as well as carry out patrols within the forest, around the camp and its surrounding environs. The first image that we saw while heading to the camp was the ongoing destruction of the Kibwezi forest.

On our way to the campsite we saw a number of trucks and tractors leaving the forest loaded with poles and firewood. We were very surprised to find that all the loggers and firewood cutters operating in the area possessed permits that had been given to them by the forest officer.

The loggers, together with their tractors and trucks, have managed to destroy the indigenous trees in the area, while opening paths into the forest, and destroying the biodiversity found there. Many trees have been felled by the loggers who later collect them as firewood.

While patrolling the environs around Umani Springs we were able to lift over 81 large and medium snares in an area with a radius of 100 meters.

Near to the Umani Springs camp the team came across a dead snared bushbuck.
It is important to note that some of the camps staff are involved in the snaring and logging with one staff member taking out about two lorries of wood per week from the area.

We feel that there is the need to have a meeting with the forest officer in the area and KWS so as to come together and put into motion the mechanisms needed to save the Kibwezi forest which is the only remaining forest that can be found in kambaland.

The team was able to arrest 3 poachers in the Kithasyu area.

The poachers were in possession of snares and were booked at Kibwezi police station where they are awaiting sentencing. The culprits are also guilty of logging in the area.

Report by Alex Macharia