Wambua Kikwatha Boniface Kivai John Malonza Muema Kingoo Kutai Kamayon KWS Ranger Peter Koronkoro KWS Ranger
Information presented in the preceding reports particularly the May/June and July ones has given an insight into the magnitude of silent poaching along this area. However, following the two successive operations, the rate of snaring has declined drastically. Previously a total of 727 snares have been lifted in two operations, with several animals rescued to freedom while others were found already dead.
During this operation a thorough ransacking of this stretch was done. We also managed to climb the Yatta Plateau where we suspected poaching activities. It was apparent that the high area is used by the poachers as their observation point as well as cooking and resting places before transporting their catch to various market places. Several fireplaces were located on the plateau. The operation resulted in a mere 87 snares lifted despite the large area covered. All the snares collected during the three operations have similarities in the way they are set and the type of snaring wire used. It can be deduced that a specific group of poachers have dominated this area. Again, this large scale poaching is definitely for commercial purposes.
It was also established that poaching is now done along the river banks. Almost all the snares were collected along the river. An informer confirmed to us that the poachers have a hideout near the river on the community land and so find it easy to sneak into the Park along the river. Poaching of this kind is concentrated on the parts where there is long and green grass where they camouflage the snares with grass. We had to follow their footprints and big trees to spot the snares. Our rangers unsuccessfully ambushed their hideout and two poachers fled for their safety on seeing the rangers.
During our patrols, four fishermen were found fishing in the Park. This is part of a big group that has been fishing using nets from Kalawa area to Kamunyu and into the Park. Some of them are suspected to couple their fishing activities with poaching mainly using snares. Apparently the fishermen have been warned not to go beyond the Park precincts but they defied the advice. The majority of the fishing group have letters allegedly issued by the Divisional Fisheries Officer (KAMBU) allowing them to fish and transport fish anywhere within the Republic of Kenya. The Rangers arrested the four who were found in the Park and they were later arraigned in court.
Finally, I suggest that a thorough investigation be done to establish the movements of these poachers along the Yatta and if possible arrest them. The poachers are not members of the immediate community and furthermore it has been reported that they are a constant problem to the local communities in that they steal their chickens, goats and food stuffs at night. So far the community has been very co-operative in volunteering information concerning these poachers.
Report compiled by Wambua Kikwatha