Alex Macharia – team leader Francis Chege Semeli Lolchuraki Nterito Kapina James Nuymu Vincent Mutua 4 KWS rangers
During the course of the month of December the following areas were patrolled by the Mtito de-snaring team: the Mtito River, Iviani, the triangle area, Kenani, Kanga, Mangerete and Rhino Valley.
67 SNARES COLLECTED 7 ARRESTS
Mtito River/Iviani: The Mtito River including the Iviani section is an area that needs to be visited by the team on a monthly basis due to the fact that there is a community area that borders the park. The community members have been found to encroach into the park for the purposes of logging, charcoal burning and poaching.
The Triangle: This area covers an extension to Tsavo east National park extending up to Mtito Andei. It includes a small centre that doubles as a market centre and is an area dominated by poachers who use it as a station for their trophies. Most of the poached game trophies can be found in this market centre. 27 small snares were lifted in the triangle.
Kenai/Kana areas: Both of these areas are considered to be poaching hotspots due to their proximity to the Mombasa Nairobi Highway. Most of the poachers operating in the area are believed to use the train or other public transportation when accessing these areas. Both areas are found deep in the park where there are limited ranger patrols and the poachers are better able to carry out their illegal activities. The team was able to lift 9snares during its patrols. We also came across a Matatu Nissan that we believe had been carjacked and hidden in the park.
Mangerete: The boundary of Tsavo West National park borders the Ukambani area which has been found to be an entry route to the park for both poachers and loggers. A logger was arrested in the area and was booked at Mtito Police station.
Rhino Valley: This area is now considered to be a death zone by poachers after a shoot on sight order handed down to KWS allowing them to kill on site any poachers seen in the Rhino Valley. The reason for this is that several rhino have been released into the areas to browse. The rhino are under constant watch from the patrolling rangers. For this reason the area has been names as an IPZ, Intensive Patrol Zone. Although there is the threat of death for any poacher found in the area the team still came across several footprints from three different individuals. We followed the footprints which led us to a hideout where the poachers had spent the night.
Report by Alex Macharia