Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 March 2001
1. Wambua Kikwatha 2. James Mbuthia 3. John Malonza 4. Francis Mwangi 5. Hussein Kala 6. Simon Kisangau - Camp Manager
This operation was a revisit of the above-mentioned areas. The results emanating from this particular operation is quite encouraging. The trend of snaring is declining to nearly nil snaring. The desnaring team patrolled over twenty kilometers on the Mtito river stretch trying to locate the penetration points to the park, previous hotspots and possibility new hot spots. Patrols along the river yielded 17 snares. All the snares were old and sparsely located showing that they were left during the previous patrols. Some of them had rusted others hidden by the overgrown vegetation. Comparing the latest level of snaring with the 779 snares collected during the first attempt, it shows a 95% decline in snaring.
The absence of snaring may be attributed to various reasons. At this period the community may be busy in their farms or may be scared of the elephants occasionally coming to the river, or could be as a result of the ongoing conservation awareness and the assistance given to the communities. The first two are the less likely because people will always find time to poach no matter how busy they are. In addition it has been revealed that most of the poachers come from far communities. More so, people have for long coexisted with elephants and pursue their awful deeds without much problem. The awareness campaign may be more effective because the declining trend has been very consistent. The community’s response to our campaign is a clear indicator for this. Nevertheless more patrols are necessary to ascertain this.
The waterholes patrolled yielded nil snares. The other areas patrolled were Mangelete areas. We lifted 70 snares. Only a short stretch of the area patrolled before was covered because the road had not been done for a long time. We did not want to risk the small car, which is too low to attempt it. Instead we opted for other areas including along the pipeline and the nearest railway station. A total of 35 snares were collected. The total of snares collected during the operation were 105.
The desnaring team back at our base collected 27 snares from the privately owned land nest to Athi River. The team also revealed that there is serious poaching on the Yatta area. Information from reliable sources says that poachers loaded with sacks of game meat are seen crossing the river from the Yatta. This is the same area we lifted over 700 snares month ago.
The community work has picked up on a serious note. On 1st March together with J.F. we delivered textbooks worth KSH 446,000 to Kyusiani Primary School. The school community expressed their appreciation and vowed to work hand in hand with us to alleviate the poaching problem. So far the community heads of Ngiluni and Kyusiani have announced that no poachers will be hosted in their community and they will report to KWS anyone from their villages caught poaching.
Report compiled by Wambua Kikwatha