Patrick Kimeu- Team leader
For any country to meet its development goals, it has to address environmental issues. Nature sustains lives of humans and wildlife. It is the duty of the government and its citizens to ensure that nature is left intact as it is our life-support. Over the years forest cover has continued to shrink. All the stakeholders in conservation must understand the reality of forests being destroyed and the importance of protecting the remaining wilderness for the survival of people and all living creatures that share our world. Only once this concept is understood can real long term conservation take hold in communities responsible for protecting their environment. The Team has the challenge of reaching out to the communities in order to sensitize them to the environmental problems affecting them as well as protect the Parks & conservation areas from current threats such as poaching, logging, charcoal burning, and loss of habitat.
During the month of June the Mtito Team patrolled the following areas: Kibwezi forest, Chyulu National Park and Tsavo East National park.
113 snares collected
7 bicycles confiscated
The Team based its camp from Kenze and began the month’s patrols in the eastern side of Kibwezi forest. Two charcoal burners were arrested Usalama area.
This shows that charcoal burning inside the forest is almost contained. However, charcoal burning around homesteads is very high. The locals are permitted to fetch firewood from the forest as long as it is not taken in commercial amounts.
Policing this is very difficult as people collecting wood may enter the forest on many occasions in a single day, making the amount collected more than for home use. Illegal cattle grazing incidents have increased as the dry season begins to take hold. Two men were arrested at Wayani area, they were advised to seek permit from the area forester and their cows and goats were driven out of the forest.
The team went further to Chyulu National Park into Metava and Kikunduku areas. Here 8 charcoal burners were arrested while 2 others were arrested ferrying charcoal at Usalama area as the team took the arrestees to Kibwezi police station.
This reveals the extent in which people have invaded the parks, especially since many were pushed out of Kibwezi forest due to the presence of the DSWT Desnaring Teams.
The Team also patrolled Tsavo East National Park (triangle area) which is an area notorious for high levels of poaching activities. The team patrolled Iviani area and destroyed several charcoal kilns and wet wood.
This area has been cpmletely cleared from old mature trees as a result of charcoal burners persisting for a long period of time. A man was arrested deep in the park in Iviani area as he was harvesting timber; he had set snares around the area to supplement his food supplies, 6 snares were lifted.
At Kinanie area the team arrested a poacher caught slaughtering a buffalo he had killed using poisoned arrows. A bow, 5 poisoned arrows, a knife and an axe were recovered at his colleagues hide out.
Poachers have set up hideouts and shooting platforms around waterholes to target animals as they are drawn in to drink water. The Team carried out a night patrol following a tip off from an informer. The Team laid ambush at KARI area and intercepted 7 poachers; sadly while 2 were arrested, 5 managed to escape. From the arrest 6 bicycles, 7 torches, 1 slasher and 2 pangas were recovered. The poachers were using lamping methods using the full moons light to guide them through the bush. The Team is going to carry out further night patrols to tackle this trend.
Maiatatu and Kyusyani primary schools trips
The above schools benefited with a school trip each to Tsavo West National Park. The trips were received with much appreciation and the children and teachers could not hide their joy from the experience. During the trips wildlife were seen and the team leader explained the importance and the need of conserving the wildlife.