Alex Macharia – team leader
During the course of the month of February the following areas were patrolled by the Mtito de-snaring team: Kenani, Kanga, Mtito River, Kyulu station, Tsavo River, Mangalete, Yumbunni, Kilalinda, The Triangle, Ngulia hills, the Chyulu pump area and Ndawe hills
32 SNARES COLLECTED
We started our patrols in the Triangle although the area has become difficult to access and penetrate due to the impassable roads which prevented us from accessing several areas.
We were able to patrol a wide area even though the overgrown vegetation continued to hinder our operations which make it difficult for us to access areas and to follow tracks. Despite this we were able to arrest to elephant poachers who were found in possession of 18 poisoned arrows.
These arrests took place deep inside the park at Ngulia hills / Kenani. The two individuals confessed to being frequent elephant poachers and told us that they sold the tusks in Mariakani, Mombasa, where in exchange for the tusks they were supplied with the poison that they used on their arrows.
We also found that a kilo of Ivory costs about 2500 shillings depending on the size of the Tusks and the age of the elephant.
We were also able to arrest to loggers at the Mtito River who were found cutting trees and gathering the timber for construction purposes.
They were also found to be in possession of small snares targeting Dikdiks. All those arrested were booked at Mtito police station and were released on bond.
Although the overgrown vegetation hinders our operations it also hinders the poacher’s activities. As the dry season begins we expect to find an increase in the number of snares found especially in areas like Kenani and Mangalete. Ngulia hills and Kenani are both poaching hotspots. We are meeting with KWS to discuss the methods that can be used to find and arrest all the poachers operating in these areas. We have found that most of the poachers are from Daranjani and Nthunguni. Through information given to us by an informer we were able to locate many hideouts.
We have also been able to gather information about elephant poachers that will hopefully lead to their arrest. During the month of March we are planning to visit a poachers den at Nthunguni where we expect to find wildlife trophies.
Nzayo primary school were treated to a field trip into Tsavo which was thoroughly enjoyed by all the students that took part.
In collaboration with the KWS Tsavo west National park education center we made plans for various schools and members of the communities, to take park in the Wetland day. We were able to invite several schools, most of which have benefited from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s community projects, organized groups, stake holders and government representatives.
The participants presented dances and concerts all of which addressed wildlife issues.
The best presentation receive a free game drive. The day’s celebrations ended with everyone planting a tree.
Report by Alex Macharia