Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 December 2009

Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 December 2009

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Participants:

Nicodemus Kivindyo – Team Leader John Mungai Adan Abdi Boru Okichi Joshua Muthoka 2 KWS Rangers

Areas Covered

During the month of December the Ziwani Team patrolled the following areas: Mgeno Ranch, Oza Ranch, Taita Wildlife Sanctuary, and Lumo Community Sanctuary. In conjunction with Ithumba Team and Mbiriki Group Ranch Scouts the Team also patrolled the Mbiriki Group Ranches, Kimana Sanctuary, and the Kenya- Tanzania border near Amboseli National Park.

Findings

During the month of December the Team lifted a total of 59 snares, out of which 40 targeted big game and 11 targeted small game.

The team arrested 2 poachers, one at Oza Ranch and the other at Taita Wildlife Sanctuary.
Both poachers were booked at Voi Police Station. The Team found two carcasses during patrols; one was of a buffalo found at Taita Wildlife Sanctuary and the other of a Zebra found at Kimana Ranch.
Charcoal burning continues to be high in all areas patrolled; the Team arrested two charcoal burners at Mgeno Ranch and handed them over to the Ranch authority.

While Patrolling in Oza Ranch the Team came across a poacher on a bicycle, during pursuit the poacher dropped his belongings and escaped. The team recovered 10kg of Dikdik and Eland meat from the poachers’ bag.

At Mgeno Ranch a poacher’s hideout was found containing cooking utensils, bedding, snares, and clothes.

The team laid ambush in attempt to capture the poachers operating from the hideout; unfortunately the poachers must have seen the Teams tracks and hence fled. The hideout was destroyed, to make it harder for the poacher group to set up again.

Observable Evidence

With the arrival of the long awaited rains the snaring activity seems to have decreased, as many poachers have switched to using lamping methods. The reduction of snaring could be attributed to the rains. Since the arrival of heavy rains in December the waterholes and vegetation have begun to recover from the drought therefore wild animals no longer gather around the last remaining water sources, instead they have spread out to new feeding grounds and other water sources making snaring less fruitful and forcing the poachers to change tactics.

Mgeno Ranch

This area is a very important migratory corridor connecting Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. Charcoal burning, logging, and destruction to habitat are major threats to wildlife in this area.

Two illegal charcoal burners were arrested and handed over to Ranch Management for prosecution.
A well established poacher’s hideout was also found.
The hideout was destroyed and the Team will keep up its patrols to curb the high levels of poaching. There is a desperate need for more community work to try and put an end to the unsustainable charcoal burning and logging taking place. Destruction of the Habitat is a major problem as it pushes wild animals out from their homes making them vulnerable to poaching as well as making their ability to survive a hardship. This is particularly a problem to wild animals that are less adaptable to living in a variety of habitats.

Oza Ranch

This area borders the southern part of Tsavo West National Park and is home to large numbers of wild animals. It also acts as an important migratory corridor for wildlife moving between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks as well as movement to Tanzania and back.

Poaching in this area is high; the team lifted 46 snares most of which targeted big game. The Team arrested a poacher caught in the act of checking his snares who was booked at Voi Police Station.

Lamping during no moon periods is rampant; the Team will try to time its patrols in the area during this period to tackle lamping. A poacher was seen riding a bicycle, during an attempt to capture the man he dropped his belongings and escaped. His bag containing 10kg of bush meat from eland and Dikdik was recovered. The bicycle and meat was handed over to KWS.

Taita Wildlife Sanctuary

This sanctuary was a stronghold for a lot of the wildlife from the surrounding Parks & Ranches during the drought. The large Dam provided wild animals a lifeline over the long drought which has only broken this month. As a result this area drew in many poachers who followed the wildlife and has been one of the Teams main anti-poaching patrols areas. The Team arranged several ambushes, one of which resulted in the arrest of a poacher caught setting snares.

The poacher gave the Team some information on other poachers in the area and their methods of operating. This information was passed to KWS for further investigation. The team lifted 12 snares targeting big game. A buffalo carcass was found, this was a drought victim.

Mbirikani Group Ranch and Kimana Ranch

The Team joined up with the Trusts Ithumba Team and the Mbirikani Group Ranch Scouts for Patrols.

Together a large area was patrolled, concentrating mainly on the area between Chyulu Hills and Mbirikani Ranch. This area is very important as it is home to a small group of the endangered Black Rhino. Several Rhino prints were seen, which was comforting to see considering these animals are at a threat of extinction.

The Kimana Ranch had a lot of charcoal burning taking place.

The Team found several old kilns as well as new and burning kilns within the protected area. Due to heavy rainstorms patrols were made very difficult as roads and paths were flooded forcing patrols to an end. The Team has made plans to return to continue patrols in this area once the rains have subsided.

The Lemomo area lies close to the Kenya- Tanzania border and the Amboseli National Park. Many wild animals cross over to Tanzania and back into Kenya, as they have done throughout history. Locals from the area informed the Team of the presence of Tanzanian poachers who use very violent poaching methods. They slash the animal’s legs and follow the wounded animal as it bleeds to death. The poachers then harvest the meat and sell it in Tanzania. Due to heavy rains, conditions for patrols were hindered and hence there are plans to return together with the Mbirikani Ranch Scouts who know the area very well and have a good relationship with the local Communities. Community Outreach

ON the 13th the Team showed a wildlife film at Msorongo Community. The Community was very appreciative and requested to have more involvement with the Team and the Trusts work.

Report by Nicodemus Kivindyo – Ziwani Team Leader