Isaac Maina – team leader Abdi Adan Samuel Lolchuraki Julius Mumo 5 KWS rangers – Ismael Shongolo, Maraba Too, Peter Kibui, and Peter Adero.
During the course of this month the Gazi team patrolled the following areas: Gazi, the Yatta - Athi river section from Cottars, the Tiva – Yatta boundary line, the Umbi – Mukorwe cut line and the Shimo la Shetani area.
TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 265
November is normally a rainy month and this year was no exception. For this reason the amount of poaching, illegal charcoal burning, and cattle grazing is expected to decrease as the communities in the area were involved with tending their farms and planting seeds in preparation for the rains. Due to the rains it is hard for the charcoal burners to light and maintain the kilns for charcoal burning. Furthermore the swelling rivers discourage poachers who do not like the difficult camping conditions and find that the rivers become impassible. The coming of the rains means that there is enough greenery in the community areas for the cattle and hence the grazers no longer need to enter the park with their cattle as there is enough pasture outside the parks boundaries.
Despite the above factors there are still individuals who persist in continuing with the above mentioned illegal activities. For this it is of paramount importance that we continue with our patrols.
Our monthly patrol started in Gazi where a herd’s man was arrested and booked at Mutomo police station for illegal cattle grazing, which was one of the few illegal activities that we came across in the Gazi and Athi area. We also encountered two poachers in possession of snares as they were leaving the park. They swam across the swollen Athi River with the de-snaring team in pursuit. Sadly they were able to evade arrest and it was not until we were back at camp that we considered the dangers involved in crossing a swollen river that is inhabited by crocodiles.
Later in the month we patrolled the area upstream from Cottars where we collected 6 small snares. There were no signs if human activity as the rain had destroyed any footprints that may have been left behind. On our way back to Ithumba the Tiva River was impassible forcing us to set up camp for a day and night until the water level subsided.
The area along the power line in Ithumba was patrolled for several days during which we lifted 228 snares targeting small game. Shimo la Shetani was quiet and no human activity was detected. There was however a lot of elephant activity in the area. The Umbi-Mukorwe cut line was patrolled and although all tracks were scrutinized with no bicycle, tracks, footprints or human activity was noted. However in Mukorwe there was a lot of livestock activity.
The Kasaala-Tiva fence line up to the Yatta slope was also relatively quiet, although we did lift 33 snares along the Yatta boundary. We were also able to arrest two poachers, in possession of 6 snares, a bow and 3 arrows, who were on their way to the park. The poachers were brothers who were 15 and 23 years old. The younger of the two is considered a minor and was taken to the area chief; his brother was booked at Mutomo police station. A total of 265 snares were lifted and 3 arrests made.
Report by Isaac Maina