Alex Macharia – team leader Francis Chege Kathuki Ngongo James Nyumu Mutua Vincent Nteritu Kapina 4KWS Rangers
During the course of the month of October the following areas were patrolled by the Mtito de-snaring team: the Mtito river Circuit, the Rhino camp, Nguumo area, Kyusiani, Ngiluni, Mangelete, Yumbuni, Iltilal, Chyulu mountains, Ngulia hills, both lower and upper Kenani, the Kanga and Kyulu stations, along the Athi river, as well as the pump area, the Tsavo river and the Komboyo areas.
57 SNARES COLLECTED 2 ARRESTS
Goals and objectives
Our main objectives were to arrest as many poachers as possible with the ultimate goal of conserving wildlife through the lifting of snares and community awareness in wildlife conservation together with covering as large an area as possible.
The month started with lots of enthusiasm and anxiety as all the members from various teams congregated at Kaluku to await the arrival of the US Trustees. There was a thorough clean up and the meeting with the Trustees went well.
Later in the month, our operations began at Iltilal which is south west of Tsavo west National Park and is an area that is adjacent to the park. The local people in this area are from the Maasai community. The area has a lot of wildlife species both biota and fauna but has a lot of poaching problems from the armed Chagga community from Tanzania. The area is home to Wildebeest, Kongoni, and Buffaloes. Rhino footprints have also been seen near water points. The vegetation in the area is sparse in terms of Shrubs but is thickly grassed with a good cover of acacia trees, which is dominant in the area and is a source of food for giraffes and other browsers. Due to the abundance of wildlife in the area and the lack patrols by KWS personnel, poachers from Tanzania have been engaging in night poaching in the area. The nearby KWS posts do not have a vehicle that they can use to carry out larger patrols and are thus not a threat to the poachers. During our patrols in the area we came across the carcasses of 3 poached giraffes
We later moved our operations to the Chyulu area where we arrested a man cutting timber deep in the park.
There were few signs of poaching taking place along the Tsavo River and its circuit. We did however find a hippo carcass floating in the water.
Observable evidence: due to the heavy rains it was difficult to locate any footprints as they had been washed away. The rains also hindered our de-snaring operations as some areas had become impassable.
Community work Kyusiani primary school was treated to a school trip into the park. The trip was preceded by a wildlife film which was shown at the school.
Report by Alex Macharia