Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 May 2010

Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 May 2010

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Participants:

Patrick Kimeu – Team Leader Nterito Kapina James Nyumu Vincent Mutua Samuel Lolchuraki

Areas covered

During the month of May the Mtito team conducted its de-snaring activities at the following areas: The Kibwezi forest and the surrounding area

Findings

The Mtito team has been carrying out patrols under the leadership of the new Team Leader, who until recently, has been under the supervision of Chyulu team leader. This month the Chyulu team leader took his team to patrol inside the Chyulu National Park near the Mukururo area, leaving the Mtito Team in charge of patrolling the Kibwezi forest. The Mtito Team plans to return to its areas of patrol as soon as the training is completed. During the months patrols a total of 11 arrests were made. The team based its camp at Kenze and patrolled the eastern side of Kibwezi forest. Four charcoal burners were arrested during an ambush near their kilns early in the morning.

The team kept up the pressure on this side of the forest, managing to destroy several charcoal kilns and arrest a woodcarver who was heading deeper in the forest from Wayani area.
It is possible he was heading to Umani Spring, the only area remaining with a few large trees, which would be highly sought after by wood carvers. The Team recovered a handsaw, adze and file from the arrestee.
The availability of charcoal kilns in the forest as well as charcoal bags which are sold along the Mombasa- Nairobi highway indicates that charcoal burners are still operating at night, using the moonlight to find thier way out if the protected area.
Two women were arrested as they were cutting green wood and carrying it out to prepare charcoal closer to their village.
The team leader managed to seek assistance from the area forester and Kibwezi D.O. and organize a joint operation along the highway, impounding 24 bags most of which where found at Manyanga market.
Two wood carvers were intercepted in the western side of the forest and another at Kenze area as they were heading to Mbuinzau market.
In both cases wooden spoons were recovered.
Following interrogations, it was revealed that many people have taken to operating deep in the park where they camp for several days while cutting trees & manufacturing wood carvings. They then transport the products at night to Mbuinzau which is a collection point of whole sales heading to Nairobi. While charcoal burning & logging continues to be a problem, it appears as though snaring has been contained in the forest. No snares were lifted during the entire month and wildlife sightings seem to have increased. The surrounding area Chiefs formed a scouts group which will be assisting in identifying illegal activities carried out in the forest. The scouts then report to the area forester and the desnaring team leader immediately, acting as informers. This signifies that the local community has realized the importance of forest and environmental conservation as a whole. Major progress has been made with the cutting of the new road. With the opening of Kenze-Umani road it will be easier for the Team to access more areas which require monitoring & patrols. This will also ease access of water and other supplies to the Kenze base the teams use when patrolling.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH Kyusiani primary school desks donation This school was presented with 30 desks donated by the trust. The entire school fraternity could not hide its joy as the desks were received with much appreciation. Different speeches from the head teacher, pupils and parents reaffirmed just how grateful they all were to the trust. The Parents pledged to support conservation efforts in their area.

Iviani and Kikwasuni primary schools trips Both these schools benefited with a school trip to Tsavo west national park. Though it was not the first time for some of the pupils, the children were overjoyed to have this experience. During the trip, a variety of wild game was seen and the team leader explained the importance of wildlife and their correlation with forests.

Nguumo Secondary school video show A video show was screened at the Nguumo Secondary school aimed at sensitizing the students to conservation. The mobile cinema show was received with great appreciation and a lot of positive conservation issues were understood by the students. Many of them asked the Team questions regarding the environment during the open discussion which followed.

Report by

Patrick Kimeu.