Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 June 2001

Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 June 2001

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Participants:

Wambua Kikwatha James Mbuthia Peter Nthenge KWS Ranger Wario Dida KWS Ranger John Malonza Martin Wambua (in camp)

Field report

The July operation was a revisit of the above areas. In the recent past however, stations like Ndi and Irima have not been patrolled by our team.. The last time we patrolled these stations was mid last year where a declining trend of snaring was observed. The Youth for Conservation team patrolled The Tsavo, Mbololo, Ndi and Irima collecting 140 snares this year. Our initial intention was to patrol stations that fall between Tsavo station and Mtito Andei Station. A tip off about rampant snaring at Ndi Station necessitated a spot check at Ndi which culminated in a thorough patrol along the same stretch.

During this operation, a total of 603 snares were lifted. Unlike previous results, the snares lifted this time are mainly made for big game, particularly giraffe and medium sized animals like lesser kudus. We set our camp at Manyani for convenience purposes while patrolling Ndi, Tsavo, and Mbololo. Patrolls around the Chinese construction base yielded 111 snares. At the start of this project, this area had very high rate of snaring but declined with subsequent desnaring patrols. The current increase in snaring could be attributed to the fact that the majority of the workers are idle. We learned that their operations are down and the majority of employees are jobless but still within the camp awaiting another contract. As a result, they engage in poaching activities. The area within and around the base is also an eye sore because of the litter dumped all over. Plastic bags, tins and all sorts of garbage is thrown anywhere making the environment very pathetic. This is the same area where animals pass while trekking to the Tsavo River, exposing them to the untold risk of swallowing plastic papers not mentioning the snares.

Tsavo Station and the others towards Mtito, maintained a very low rate of snaring perhaps due to regular desnaring patrols. The spot check at Ndi station confirmed the alleged poaching information. The first attempt gave us the drive to advance our patrol towards Irima. We revealed that giraffe snaring is very rampant. In fact it was hard to locate dik dik snares because our eyes were fixed to tree tops trying to locate the giraffe snares. As we advanced more snares were found making it difficult to turn back.. The guilty of leaving lethal snares ready for the target made us go beyond our area of operation to Irima Railway station. To confirm the efficacy of the snares a freshly slaughtered giraffe was found awaiting drying and collection. The rangers pursued the culprits who outwitted them and disappeared. The snaring problem is very serious at Irima and the preceding area. About 5 km to Irima and about 500 metres inside the Park, a total of 103 snares were collected. With this very high rate of snare concentration, there is a very slim chance of the targeted animals escaping death. Beyond this point towards the inside and even where we have patrolled, there are still snares left. It is worth noting that it is not only the preferred animals for consumption that fall victim, but also any trespassing animal. A monkey, warthog, and domestic dog were found snared.

The area around Manyani prison is also a death field for small and medium sized animals. We collected 39 snares at both Mbololo Station and Manyani Prison. Charcoal burning and logging is also done around the prison.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Regular patrols need to be done between Irima and Mbololo (not necessarily by our team). These patrols along the Mtito Andei River stretch have been very successful in containing silent poaching. I believe that the same can be applicable elsewhere and along this stretch in particular. 2. The KWS Authorities to liaise with those in charge at the Chinese construction base to facilitate the clean up of the garbage. 3. Addition of one more person to the desnaring team to make the number of desnarers six. In some areas, particularly along the highway, one person must remain with the car. The remaining desnarers can only cover small areas, probably leaving many snares behind. 4. Arrangements to be made to enable us to patrol the Yatta where the poaching situation is unimaginable.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS

With the procurement of a video projector, our mobile cinema is gaining a lot of popularity among the community members – Turn up for video shows is very promising. This month, we staged shows at Kyusyani and Kamunyu Primary schools. Football clubs like Kyusyani, Ngiluni, and Kamunyu also benefited from video shows.

Apart from Wildlife Cinema shows, we intend to organize educational field trips for the above schools. This will expose them to the wild reality and enable them to appreciate wildlife. Before the end of the year we plan to plant trees with the community as well as the schools.

REPORT COMPILED BY WAMBUA KIKWATHA