Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 December 2005

Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 December 2005

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Participants Wambua Kikwatha - team leader Henry Lekochere Bura Okicha Gerald Maghanga 2 KWS rangers – Said Bashane & Alphayo Muok

Area Covered

During the month we carried out our de-snaring operations in the following areas: Murka, Salt lick, Mbuyuni, Maktau, Kishushe and the Lumo Community Sanctuary along the railway line.

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 55

Findings

This month we changed our mode of operation, instead of visiting new spots where poaching is suspected to be taking place, we decide to check all the old hotspots where poaching was rampant at the beginning of the year such as Murka, along the railway line and Marktau area and around the Mbuyuni gate. We did this in order to see whether the poachers had returned to these areas and were happy to see that there is no snaring taking place. We lifted one old snare from the Murka area and 16 old snares from the railway line. We observed that the fence style of poaching, where strategic gaps have been left for snaring in fences a kilometer in length. We feel that the lack of poaching in these areas is due to the continuous de-snaring efforts in these areas of the KWS and DSWT teams.

Sadly this does not mean that poaching has stopped taking place entirely. What has happened is that the poachers have also changed their tactics and instead of using snares are now night poaching, which is less risky and costly in terms of wire loss. Our intelligence efforts have shown that there is poaching taking place at night using the lamping method. The areas in which night poaching is prevalent are Maktau, Kishushe, Lumo and the Lumo park boundary. The poachers operate at night using powerful torches and confuse the animals using a gadget that beeps.

The poachers come from all over and are often found staying in the surrounding communities. Several attempts to catch poachers at Maktau were not successful.
However while operating in the Kishushe area we carried out an ambush that lead to the arrest of four poachers
who were in possession of bush meat and poaching equipment.
The culprits were booked at Taveta police station.
In order to be successful in our arrests we need to ensure that we are able to gather as much information as possible.

We have also found that apart from night poaching some poachers have moved their operation areas to the ranches where security is at a minimum. The ranches that we visited are Oza, Taita, Lumo and Kishushe. A total of 22 snares were recovered, 18 targeting big game and 4 targeting small game.

Our aggressive ambushes and patrols in the ranches resulted in one poacher surrendering his snares to us and promising not to engage in any poaching in the future.

On the 20th of December, the Lumo community sanctuary staff sent a report about an orphaned elephant. The calf had been seen with a herd of buffaloes. The report was given to the Warden who mobilized a rescue team to rescue the baby elephant. Our team was called in to assist in the search of the calf which was rescued and taken to the Voi orphanage.

TRAINING In order to increase the efficiency of all the desaring teams, it was important for the teams to become better acquainted with all the different bush skills needed to be highly effective in the field.

The trust organized a training programme run by the British Army which was attended by all the de-snaring teams. We were taught how to read a map
and use a compass, how to give first aid, different forms of communication, how to best set an ambush and organize our operations
as well as how to carry our arrests with minimum amount of risk to the team members.

Report by Wambua Kikwatha