Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 May 2008

Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 May 2008

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Participants

Alex Macharia – team leader Francis Chege Semeli Lolchuraki Nterito Kapina James Nuymu Vincent Mutua 4 KWS rangers

Areas Covered

During the course of the month of May the following areas were patrolled by the Mtito de-snaring team: Mangerete, Kenani, Kanga, the Triangle area, Kilaguni, Kilalinda and the Mtito River.

82 SNARES COLLECTED

1 ARREST

Findings

During the course of the month a total of 82 snares were lifted during the team’s patrols.

Of the snares retrieves 8 were big snares, 17 were medium snares and 57 were small snares.

Mangarete/Komboyo area A large number of snares were lifted during our patrols in this area, 36 targeting small game and 11 targeting medium sized game.

A logger was arrested with charcoal kilns being found within a 4km radius extending into the park. Cattle grazing has increased with cows, goats and donkeys often being found inside the park without their herders. Small bicycle tracks were often seen, indicating that people from the surrounding communities are entering and leaving the park to get charcoal.

Triangle, Upper Kenani, Kanga and Rhino areas These are areas that are patrolled by the team every month and our operations would be incomplete if we did not visit them at some point during the course of each month. The Kanga/Kenani area is divided into two sections with one lying in Tsavo west and the other in Tsavo east. The section lying in Tsavo east is more vulnerable to poachers due to the lack of rangers and the fact that the poachers use the railway line to access the area.

Active hideouts were uncovered that contained poachers paraphernalia such as an axe, maize flour, bags, clothes, pots, spoons and water containers.

The items were all confiscated by the team. Antelope and Dikdik skins were also found in the hideout together with a roll of snares.
An ambush was laid for a period of 2 days but the poachers did not return. We assume that they had taken their items to the Mtito Andei shopping center. We have noticed that the poachers are digging trenches along the railway line in order to uproot copper wires that had been buried for the telephone lines. The copper wires are used for snares or sold as scrap metal.

During our patrols we came across several sets of footprints which we followed for over 5 hours. Most of the footprints crossed over to Tsavo west heading towards Ngulia hills. A total of 27 snares were lifted during our patrols in the area.

Kilaguni/Chullu gate area This area is flat and has a lot of game due to the presence of a waterpan near the Kilaguni lodge. Unfortunately the waterhole has become more of a curse than a blessing to the wildlife in the area. 7 large snares were lifted and the carcasses of two snared buffaloes were found.

One of the carcasses had an intact snare around its neck while the other had fresh knife wounds on the muscles. We suspect that the poachers found that the buffalo was rotten on the inside and decided to remove flesh from around the muscles. For the last few months large snares have been found in this area which has led us to mark it as a poaching hotspot.

Kilalinda This area was visited along with two visitors. No snares were lifted during our patrols.

Mtito river circuit Over the years this area has been a snaring hotspot. However lately, this has changed with cattle grazing now being the biggest problem. Logging is also taking place but only in low levels.

COMMUNITY WORK This month the Mtito team, together with the other desnaring teams, hosted the US Friends of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust trustees.

Early during the month the Mtito team had organized a wildlife trip for Kikwasuni primary school. The students were taken to Tsavo West National park. This field trip was later followed by another trip this time for Kamunyu primary school that also benefited from new desks and the donation of sports equipment.

The desks and sports equipment were issued on the same day as the trip, before the students left the school for the park. The presentation ceremony was attended by the US trustees who handed over the equipment to the joyous teachers, parents and students.

The students from both schools visited Mzima springs, Shetani lava, Cahimu hills, Ngulia lodge, Ngulia valley and the Rhino sanctuary.

During the days trips they saw elephants, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, ostriches, monkeys and baboons.
Unfortunately neither a lion nor a leopard was spotted on either trip.

Report by Alex Macharia