Area of Operation
Mtito River stretch from Athi confluence to Mtito town, waterholes within the triangle, the chineese construction base, Tsavo station, Kyulu station, Tsavo River stretch to Pattersons camp, the pipeline area.
James Mbuthia -Team Leader John Malonza -Tracker Julius Mwania -Tracker Jacob Karuti -KWS Omar Jariso -KWS Julius Kyalo -In camp
Mileage: 123,135 to 124,952 – 1,817kms
The team was based at Kaluku for 2 weeks and later relocated to Tsavo Gate for 6 days. This month’s operation was the longest so far, with the team trying to keep up the pressure on the snaring hotspots. We lifted 518 snares – 5% targeting large animals, 10% medium sized animals, and 85% targeting dikdik.
Sealing off the Mtito River stretch remains our greatest challenge, poachers coming from as far as Darajani, Kalawa, Kathekani, and Kitui are still very active here. Information gathered so far revealed that snaring is done very early in the morning and late evening, with the poachers trying to get out of the Park with the catch at dawn. This made it harder to find them or the snares. We now follow the same pattern, and often try to ambush them at the entry points, it has proved successful in intercepting poachers on their way to the park, we have arrested more than ever before. During the operation, we rescued one vervet monkey and three dik diks. At one point 308 active snares were collected very soon after they were set. With animal concentrations near the river during the dry season, poachers take advantage. We are left with no choice but to patrol this stretch constantly, monitoring animal movements in the triangle.
At the railway stations, Kyulu was the worst with 48 snares lifted and two railway workers arrested for engaging in the practice. The Chinese base and Tsavo Station yielded 31 snares. We plan a revisit of the same area during the next operation.
Wildlife video shows benefited Kamunyu and Kyusiani Primary schools. Conservation talks were also held. The wildlife clubs are doing well.
This month the youth have been kept busy with more soccer tournaments. We found that to begin with our ideals were not very attractive to theses communities and therefore made us unpopular. Now with the introduction of sports clubs, wildlife clubs and the donations of good books we have become very popular and are perhaps role models to a few.
IVIANI TEXT BOOK PRESENTATION
On 19th September 2002 we presented textbooks worth 106,690 to Iviani Primary School. The donation was from The Moore Foundation and the ceremony was attended by parents, pupils, and community leaders, with a strong conservation message going out, and the people promising to report poaching activities that they are aware of.
Report by James Mbuthia