The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust recently signed a 33 year lease with the Kenya Forest Service for the protection and care of the Kibwezi Forest, an area that comprises of 14,448 acres of beautiful indigenous forest, springs, wildlife, birds and endemic butterflies, abutting the Chyulu National Park in the Tsavo Conservation Area. Our mission is to preserve and protect the area and support and help the communities on the boundary of this important ecosystem. Historically charcoal burning, bush meat poaching and human wildlife conflict have been an enormous threat to the forest and its wild inhabitants, but with our anti poaching teams, both the Chyulu team and our recently formed Umani team, constantly patrolling the area we have been able to alleviate most of the pressure on the forest. It is our intention to electrically fence three boundaries, employing the community both for the erection of the fence and the maintenance there after. This is a tried and tested initiative that has proved very successful with the Trust’s 62 Km Ithumba Northern Boundary fence line in Tsavo East.
With a legacy left to the Trust we are building a small self help lodge close to Umani Springs within the forest which will generate funding for the protection of the area and benefit the neighboring communities. This we anticipate will be ready by the end of the year.
Recently the springs were visited regularly by a wounded bull elephant whose suppurating multiple arrow wounds suggested he was a victim of human wildlife conflict. The Trust flew a KWS vet Dr. Poghon into the area to immobilize the bull and treat his wounds. The septicemia was however too deep seated for him to fully recover and he succumbed to his injuries six days after treatment.
Dr. Poghon is to be our new Vet, seconded by the Kenyan Wildlife Service to the Trust’s Tsavo Veterinary Mobile Unit, funded by Vier Photen, as of the 1st of April. He will be replacing Dr. David Ndeereh whom we would like to thank most sincerely for his dedicated and loyal service to the cause spanning seven years. Dr Ndeereh will be in a senior position at the KWS veterinary headquarters where his affiliation with the Trust will undoubtedly continue.
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