Wambua Kikwatha (YFC) Boniface Kivai (YFC) John Malonza (Track leader) Pulacha Somo (KWS Ranger) Lgngere Lepartire (KWS Ranger)
Since the inception of this project, eight successful de-snaring operations have taken place with masses of snares lifted. Our main focus has been in Tsavo particularly the triangle between Mtito and Tsavo (East), the Yatta (along the Athi River), the Nairobi/Mombassa highway near railway stations and in Tsavo West at Mbololo and Mangelete areas. Nevertheless impromptu operations away from the above areas are also carried out and we have visited the Maktau area in the southern part of Tsavo where snaring is an enormous menace. We have the conviction that if pressure is maintained at ground level with relentless zeal then snaring is not there to stay. The extent of silent poaching is disastrous and thus spells doom for our wildlife. We appreciate the very necessary support from all concerned parties, particularly the donors Mr. and Mrs. Cullman and K.W.S. with their excellent rangers. With this help we will minimise and eventually eradicate the vice. It is apparent that the mere presence of desnarers in the Park, removing snares and leaving foot prints to be seen by the poacher’s acts as a deterrent to poaching in the Park. The Mtito River stretch confirms this in that this area yielded over 700 snares last year. Since then, two successive operations took place with a declining trend of snaring. Below is a brief report on what transpired between 28th May and 16th June.
With the help of our tracker who hails from the immediate community it was revealed that snaring is also prevalent along the Yatta which is just a kilometre from our base, therefore we decided to patrol the area starting from Mtito/Athi junction up to Gazi. Unfortunately we were only able to do part of the stretch due to an impassable road. The area from the junction up to Tsavo Safari Camp yielded nil snares while the area directly around the camp yielded thirty snares for small game. A freshly slaughtered dik dik was found next to staff houses awaiting collection at night. Our visit to this camp was not announced before and we struck on arrival hence the above findings. About 4 kilometres from the camp no snares were collected. This perhaps could be attributed to the fact that the area across the river belongs to private non indigenous land owners.
Snaring is most prevalent from the Kambu/Athi River junction which also marks the boundary between the private farms and the community. Here snaring for big game is rampant. Every possible animal track on a certain selected poaching area is made dangerous by snares, culminating in a very high snare success rate. A total of five dead dik-diks were found snared as well as indisputable evidence of recently snared big animals. We moved the dik-diks to a snare free area so that other animals could feed on them. Investigation revealed that there is a well established market for game meat at Darajani, Likoni and Nthunguni. Local illicit brew dens also serve as a ready market for the poached meat. Fishing is also common along the river with fishermen from as far as Mtito Andei town trespassing through the private farms to fish from the river.
A total of 278 snares were collected along this stretch. We patrolled the stretch through several kilometres till the road became completely impassable. Later we decided to visit the triangle where 24 old snares were collected. All other human activities indicated before (refer to the second project report) have ceased completely. Also judging by the increased number of animals seen every day and the amount of droppings in the park, it can be concluded that game is safer in this triangle than it was before. Comparing the analysis carried in report 2 and the current one, the project along this particular area is a great success. I recommend that such pressure be maintained on other highly hit areas. After this operation, having returned the rangers we tried to repair the road and in the process discovered a deviation that can be used to avoid the damaged point. This deviation can get us to Gazi, which is our next target area.
A total of 333 snares were collected between 28th May and 15th June 2000.