PATRICK MUTUKU KILONZO NZIOKA
The October patrols were concentrated along the Athi River and the adjacent farms. Many visits into the community to collect information on poachers who sometimes trespass these farms.
FINDINGS: Regular patrols found 28 snares, it being the dry season when poaching is more prevalent with animals concentrating on the rivers. Some poachers have resorted to tricky methods laying snares in the late evening and collecting in the early morning. Most of the snares were for small animals but a few for large animals. Bird traps were also found and destroyed.
FISH: As reported in August, we noted that the fish were dyeing again on the 15th October, for almost a week. This time, we doubt many of any species survived.
TRUST HOUSE: Construction started on October 25. Ten young men from the community were employed, mainly youth who sometimes poach. We felt this would be a good deterrent. They are also active members of the football club we launched last month as a conservation strategy.
FILMS: The films have worked miracles, charcoal burning has diminished. The rate of cutting down trees for other activities has gone down. No illegal grazing has been noticed in the park.
TREE PLANTING: With the onset of the rains here we intend to start a vigorous tree planting exercise. We have re-dug some holes on the Trust land to replace dead trees. We will be supplying Ngiluni Dispensary, the local schools, and some homesteads. The demand outstrips our ability to supply seedlings.
1. since the community is small, the landowners should consider distributing jobs equally in the families. One converted member will make a difference in the family, converting “wolves” into “shepherds”. 2. Employment should only go to those over 18, or it would encourage dropping out of school – a condition that will not help the poaching situation in the long run. 3. Employers should ration their staff as a deterrent against hunger and therefore poaching. 4. We need to activate more seedlings, because their willingness to plant trees has outstripped the supply.
Report by Patrick Mutuku