8 KWS rangers
Areas Covered: Mukurulo, Kari land, The Kiboko river stretch, the Kaunguni areas of the Chulu National Park, some parts of the river in the Tsavo East National Park Triangle. The Tsavo East National Park Triangle, the pipeline, Tsavo West boundary from Mtito town to the Chulus, the Chulu slopes towards Kilanguni Lodge and surrounding areas.
429 SNARES COLLECTED
Our operations this month were centered around the Chulu region as there have been many reports of bush meat trading, logging and charcoal burning. All of the above areas were visited by the Mtito de-snaring team. We were able to find and lift 429 snares, most of which targeted large game such as hartebeest;
the smaller snares targeted small animals such as Dikdiks and Oribis. A total of 14 arrests were made, the people arrested consisted of poachers, wood carvers and drug harvesters. Four other poachers were spotted but managed to escape arrest.
Prolonged drought in these areas has triggered the movement of people into the park in search of food and a way to make money. A number of activities which harm both the environment and wildlife were observed including charcoal burning, overgrazing of cattle, logging, wood carving, and the harvesting of E. African sandalwood which has been found to be a very popular wood in the Tanzanian market.
There are a number of settlements in the area including, Kaunguni, Makudu, and Kiboko that have been identified as centers for illegal bush meat trade, as well as centers for timber and charcoal burning. Together with the KWS rangers we were able to arrest numerous poachers. Sadly our operations were hindered by the lack of good roads in the park especially along the parks boundary.
We feel that in order for operations to go more smoothly in the Chulus the park needs to have more access roads thus enabling the KWS rangers to be able to cover more ground when patrolling. The community needs to be sensitized about conservation and educated about the harmful effects of poaching and the need to conserve wildlife and their natural heritage. Projects need to be implemented that would raise the standard of living in the communities surrounding the park in order to lessen, and eventually stop, the poaching, logging and charcoal burning that takes place inside the park.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has started a project making desks for various schools neighboring the park, as a way to promote education in the area.
Last years donation of text books to Kikwasuni primary school by Safaricom, resulted in Kikwasuni being chosen as the most improved school in the Makueni district.
Matangini Primary School benefited from a trip to Tsavo West National Park, allowing the students to see the wildlife and thus further educate them about the importance of preserving both the wildlife and their natural heritage.
Sporting events were organized on the 1st and 10th of May. These events brought together people from several villages including Mtito, Kyusiani, Ngiluni and Mbethuani, who played volleyball and football against each other.
Report by James Mbuthia