Nyati Team Tiva Update: 01 December 2006

Nyati Team Tiva Update: 01 December 2006

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Participants

Felix Micheni Feisal Muteti Peter Ndungu Samuel Lolchuraki Julius Mumo Boru Okicha 2 KWS Rangers- Wilson Nangisa & Peterson Njeru

Areas Covered

During the month of December the Gazi team patrolled the Mangalete General area, along the Mtito river circuit in Tsavo West, Yumbuni and Nthongori general areas, Mungai Hills, Five Sisters Hills, Ngulia Hills, Kenani and Kanga stations, Tsavo River and the Mzima Springs general area

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 10 ARRESTS 5

Findings

The Gazi ream upon reporting back on duty in December after a month leave found the Athi River very swollen making it impossible for them to cross over to Gazi from the ‘triangle’. The presence of armed bandits in the ‘triangle’ meant that the team could not patrol the general triangle area. On the 4th of December the team moved to the Komboyo campsite and started their operations in Tsavo West.

Most of the roads in the areas we patrolled had been damaged and rendered impassable by the heavy rains and the team anticipated that poachers would take advantage this. We began our patrols in the Mangalete area where we lifted three snares and came across the wanton felling of trees by charcoal burners.

On the first day of our patrols, 3 charcoal burners managed to evade arrest as they had placed a sentry on a tree top who saw us coming and alerted the others giving them enough time to get away.
We laid ambushes for them for several days but they did not return to the area.

We encountered another 3 charcoal burners and were able to arrest one of them who was on a bicycle. He led us deep into the bushes where we recovered three sacks of charcoal.

He informed us that his group was operating after sunset and before sunrise in order to evade arrest. We adjusted our patrols accordingly but the wetness of the area made it difficult to manoeuvre in the mud.

The Tsavo West camp commander, Mr. Sangawe was very concerned about the increase in charcoal burning in Mangalete and Yumbuni and on several occasions he accompanied us with rangers and destroyed all the charcoal kilns that we found.

We received information that the continued crackdown on charcoal burning and transportation has fuelled the skyrocketing of charcoal prices by more than 400%. The high prices have enticed more people to engage in charcoal burning, especially as it was the festive season.

More intense patrols in the Yumbuni area aided us in arresting two herdsmen on different days.

During our patrols in Yumbuni we came across several well concealed charcoal kilns, which we destroyed.
With assistance from Mr. Sangawe, we laid an ambush on the 19th of December at 4am and were able to arrest two charcoal burners.
Mr. Sangawe led the operation and the two were booked at Voi Police station. The lush green vegetation and the foggy weather in both the morning and the evening has made it difficult for the KWS surveillance planes to spot the charcoal burning activities in the area.

During our patrols in other areas we did not come across any human activity. In Ngulia and Mzima Springs we came across many Elephants, Giraffes,

Buffaloes, Zebras, Impalas and other plains game.

As we moved our equipment from Komboyo to Kaluku base we received information about poaching activity along the Mtito River. However as the rangers attached to our team had been withdrawn we were unable to verify the information.

In the ‘triangle’ area we came across big herds of Elephants and on one occasion we received information from Mr. L. Nutter that the road to Kaluku needed some attention as Elephants had pushed trees onto the road making it impassable.

We cleared all the fallen trees off the road and were glad to note that Elephant activity in the triangle had increased. We are optimistic that we will face any challenges that cross our path and that we will make a positive change in the conservation of Tsavo as an important ecological system.

Report by Felix Micheni