John Karani- Team leader
Protected areas act as the reservoirs of the few remaining natural resources such as wild plants and animals. The degradation of protected areas is a challenge that threatens the future of tourism which is one of the drivers of our economy. When rivers dry up and wildlife species become extinct the effects are translated to poverty, thus affecting all of us. It is important that citizens realize that our future is at jeopardy if we do not protect and conserve our natural resources.
In the present world global warming is a major threat to the environment. Currently this problem is being accelerated by the wanton deforestation that is going on in the protected areas due to the increased demand for timber and charcoal. The Triangle Area of Tsavo East National park is currently under pressure from the neighbouring community around the Mtito Andei area who rely heavily on this park for bush meat, charcoal and timber although this is all illegal. The wanton destruction of the park resources at the Triangle area spells doom for the park as it interferes with the natural settings of the park and may take years to restore it. Desnaring patrols done between the Sheldrick teams and Kenya wildlife Service rangers are one of the security measures that have been put in place to address and contain these illegal activities.
The de-snaring exercise was done from the 1st to the 27th July 2010.
To assess, contain and eliminate illegal activities currently being carried out in the Triangle area.
To apprehend those involved with illegal activities.
To list and document all the animals that are sighted.
To map out poaching hot spots.
To dominate the areas for in order to safeguard the wildlife found there.
NATURE OF THE OPERATIONS
The operations involved patrolling two main areas the Triangle and the Mangelete area although the team extended its patrols to Chyulu, Kilaguni and Ngulia areas
The triangle area and the Mangalete area
The patrols were carried out by the Mtito team who set up three camps during the entire month. The first camp was in the Triangle area from where the team was able to patrol the Triangle area effectively. The team put a lot of pressure in this area especially the parts that border the community. This led to a sharp decline in the number of illegal activities reported. The team then moved to the Komboyo campsite from where we carried out effective patrols in the Mangelete area. The local community in this area had taken advantage of the on going construction of the perimeter fence to cut down the trees for charcoal burning but the arrival of the DSWT desnaring team ensured that things were brought under control. Another problem noted in this area was the grazing of livestock inside the park.
The number of snares lifted this month declined sharply compared with last months findings. This could be attributed to the regular and effective patrols that the team carried out as well as the conservation message that the team has passed on to the local community this month.
Since the team was new to the area it took time to orient itself to the community and the projects that are on going in their areas.
The team visited a few schools in the area. Two of the schools Matulani Primary school and Yumbuni Primary school are located adjacent to the park and are both in the process of establishing their own secondary school so as to encourage the enrolment in the secondary education in the area. The team enlightened the students on the importance of conservation and also the benefits of the electric fence that is being put in the area by the KWS. Other schools visited include Kambili, Zoila and Mitamboni where the team inspected the on-going conservation projects and gave talks on the importance of conservation.
Though the majority of the team members were new to the area, the team succeeded in achieving its objectives evidenced by the decline in the number of snares lifted. We also feel that we have frustrated the charcoal burners by destroying their kilns and arresting some of their accomplices.
More regular patrols should be carried out to ensure that the selfish exploiters of the park and its resources are not given a chance to carry out their illegal activities.
The community should be enlightened about the threat posed by allowing domestic animals into the park.
Report by John Karani