Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 March 2005

Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 March 2005

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Participants

David Njoroge – Assistant leader Alex Macharia – Assistant leader John Malonza – Tracker Francis Chege – Security Fiestus Muteti – De-snarer Masaku Mbanga 4 KWS rangers

Area Covered

Areas Covered: Mtito river stretch Ngiluni, Kyusiani, Nguumo, Mangilere pipeline, Kanga station and water holes.

638 SNARES COLLECTED

Findings

This months operations started at Kaluku. From there we went on to cover Kamunyu, Ngiluni and Kyusiani. In these areas we found a lot of human activity. We were able to see footprints regularly, as well as a charcoal burning site where a fire had been lit.

The team later moved to base itself from the Mtito gate we were able to cover the poacher’s hotspot areas in the Tsavo East Traingle. During the operation we came across 4 dead Dikdiks. In Nguumo we came across another Dikdik which was trapped in a snare and was thankfully still alive. We were able to free it from the snare and set it free. When we visited Tsavo West National Park another two Dikdiks were found dead trapped in snares.
We are happy to report that we were able to catch and apprehend two poachers and lifted a total of 638 snares this month.
Most of the snares set targeted small and medium sized animals. It has been noted that there has been a drastic increase in the number of snares this month. The reason for this we assume is that areas we were patrolling had experienced a long dry season. However, since the rains have now started we hope to once again see a decline in the amount of poacher activity and snares set. The pressure on the community against the poaching of innocent animals for food and for commercial gain has to be applied in order to preserve and conserve the wildlife for future generations.

CLEAN UP EXERCISE

After having conducted our desnaring operations we concentrated our efforts in a clean up exercise of the Voi to Mtito main highway. This is a portion of the road Mombasa Nairobi road that runs through Tsavo, splitting Tsavo East from Tsavo West National Parks. The exercise involved three de-snaring teams: Mtito, Burra and Ziwani with further support from the Kenyan Wildlife Service as they provided a tipper truck and volunteers from Manyani Training School to help with the clean up. It was noted that the highway is seriously polluted with plastic bags, plastic bottles and old blown out tyres.

All of this litter poses a health hazard to animals, and the environment generally. Adding to this the old tyres strewn on the side of the road are used by poachers who burn them to then extract the wire in them in order to make snares. We collected all of the litter and dumped it at a designated site and then burned it. We are however still looking at more environmentally friendly ways of destroying the rubbish, and consulting with the companies that make these products to force them to become answerable to this environmental risk, and to invest money in pursuing ways to alleviate it.

COMMUNITY WORK

As part of this months community work we held two meetings. The first of which took place at Ngiluni shopping center which is found adjacent to the Tsavo East National Park. Unfortunately it is an area where the community had been hostile when it came to matters about poaching and arrests in the area. The meeting was well organized by James, the Mtito Team Leader, together with the community’s wildlife warden, the areas chief councilor and the village elders. The second baroza/meeting was held on the 24th of March at the Makutano area. It had the same agendas and aims as the first meeting and dealt with informing the whole community about poachers and their activities, as many poachers are members of their communities. We were also giving out information concerning wildlife conservation. The communities were found to have a positive reaction to the meetings and they promised to flush out any poachers found in their villages and report them to the authorities, as when poachers can’t hunt bush meat they turn to the villagers livestock hunting their goats and sheep, so they are a threat to the community as well, who are not always sympathetic. One more baroza will be held next month in the Mwakila area which has also been found to be used by the poachers as an entry point into Gazi and the Tsavo East Game Park.

Report by David Njoroge