2 KWS Rangers- Brandson Kiboi and Abdul Ali
During the course of this month the Gazi Team patrolled the area below Tsavo Safari Camp, as well as the areas opposite Kilalinda and the Moody Awori farm, Kona ya Nyati, the Gazi airstrip and the area bordering the Mukua Nima and Mukua Meli villages.
TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 392
The Gazi team started its operations early this month. We began with a road clearing programme in order to have better access to the areas we wanted to patrol.
It took us five days to clear a stretch of about 3 kilometres.
During one of the days we were joined by the Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers from the Rhino Monitoring Team who were trying to locate a Rhino outlier by recording his activities across the Athi River. When viewing his dung piles they ascertained that he had been active in the area for about four to five months.
In the area opposite Kilalinda Camp we came across fresh snaring activities and were able to life a total of 138 snares from the nearby bushes. We came across three snared Dikdiks, two of which we were able to rescue,
unfortunately the third one was strangled by the snare and died before we could rescue it.
Further upstream we came across another heavily snared area where we lifted 54 snares including 3 large snares. In the same area we came across another Dikdik which had also died from the snare around its neck.
We laid an ambush in the area and the following day we were able to arrest a Habitual Elephant poacher named Isaac Sakili Ndunga. He was in possession of snares and was travelling with a hunting dog.
We later found out that he had previously been arrested for poaching in the same park.
As we continued upstream we were able to lift a further 50 snares and arrest another 2 poachers.
Upon interrogation all the arrested poachers admitted that as much as possible they try to monitor our movements across the Athi River. Upon spotting our patrol Land Rover they remove their snares and temporarily halt their poaching activities.
The informed us that they work in groups alerting each other to our location. This shows that our patrols had affected the poachers by disrupting their poaching activities.
For a period of two days we patrolled the Mukua Nima area which is a hotspot for poachers and charcoal burners.
On our first day in the area we arrested a charcoal burner, a logger, and a poacher cum charcoal burner who was in possession of over 40 snares.
We also arrested a poacher in possession of a dead Dikdik and a Sykes monkey.
All four were booked at Kibwezi Police Station. We feel that more intensive patrols in the area could yield more snares and arrests. Once the Gazi access road is graded, increased accessibility to the area will minimize poaching, especially in upper Gazi which border the community land.
During the course of the month a total of 392 snares were lifted consisting of 377 small snares and 15 large snares. As the dry season progresses the team anticipates that there will be an increase in charcoal burning and poaching by the use of snares.
We are ready to counter these illegal activities in the coming months and make Gazi more secure for the wildlife.
Report by Felix Micheni