Chui Team Mtito Update: 01 October 2002
Period of Operation 28.09.02 – 18.09.02
Participants James Mbuthia - Team leader John Malonz -Tracker Julius Mwania - Car guard Julius Kyalo - in camp Shukri Boro -KWS Rangers David Shebon -KWS Ranger
For two weeks we revisited the Mtito River and the waterholes inside the triangle. Previously we had recorded high snaring levels due to the presence of poachers from the Yatta and Darajani areas. We lifted 207 snares, 98% for dik dik, 2% for medium sized game and we managed to release two Dik Diks from snares.
In September, the Team was requested through the officer commanding Tsavo West to visit Ziwani area (Southern end of Tsavo West).Sadly the whole area had tens of carcasses everywhere, quite a distressing site.
Poaching is purely commercial with a ready market in Taveta, Njukini and probably neighboring Tanzania. Snaring method involves fencing (blocking) entire animal routes and setting snares at modified ‘gates’thus leaving no route out for animals passing through.
Two poachers were arrested by KWS Rangers in possession of two slaughtered giraffes. On interrogation the poachers told us, that the snaring rolls of wire (weighing about 60kg) come from neighboring Tanzania where they are sold at Ksh250. We cannot rule out the possibility of bushmeat trade across the border. Due to our low 2 wheel drive car it was difficult to ferry the snares located 17 km inside the Park, fortunately Simon Trevor helped us out with this. The worst hit area is the Losoito plains and the area around. A total of 400 snares were lifted targeting large game only, this area is in dire need of regular de- snaring.
An elephant carcass (without ivory) was seen along Ziwani River, allegedly killed by Maasai herdsmen. Our tracker helped KWS Rangers follow the footprints and the tusks were recovered a few days later. The whole operation yielded 607 snares.
More operations in the area, not necessarily by us, many animals are being lost everyday in this area. We feel that these carcasses are being traded rather than taken home for food that would explain the high number of snares.
Another team is desperately needed near Ziwani to take care of the area.
Report by James Mbuthia