Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 February 2009

Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 February 2009

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Participants:

Nicodemus Kivindyo – team leader John Mungai Abdi Adan Boru Okicha Gerald Maghanga 2 KWS Rangers

Area of operation:

During the month of February, the Ziwani team covered the following areas: Taita Wildlife Sanctuary, Oza ranch and the Kishushe park boundary.

FINDINGS During the month of February the team lifted a total of 210 snares, 162 of which targeted large game and 14 targeting small game.

Most of the lifted snares were found at the Taita Wildlife Sanctuary. The team found a buffalo carcass and also came across some intestines from a medium sized animal such as an Impala. Logging and charcoal burning continue to be taking place at Oza ranch.

Observable evidence:

The numbers of snares collected this month was higher than in previous months. We attribute this rise in snaring to the lack of rain in all the areas patrolled. The ongoing drought being experienced has lead to an increase in poaching as people turn to poaching for commercial purposes and as an added income. The number of snares lifted that targeted large game is evidence that commercial bushmeat poaching is on the rise especially in the Taita Wildlife Sanctuary which has now been declared a poaching hotspot. The number of snares lifted at the Kishushe park boundary and the finding of intestines, are an indication that poaching is a problem in this area. The intestines had been dropped by the poachers when evading arrest after crossing paths with the Ziwani desnaring team. We need to combat the rise in poaching by carrying out more ambushes and longer patrols.

Taita Wildlife Sanctuary

This area is in the Southern part of Tsavo West National Park and is an important migratory corridor for wildlife moving from Tsavo east to Tsavo West, as well as into Tanzania through lake Jipe. The area is rich in biological diversity and is home for many species of animals, birds and other vertebrae.

During patrols in the ranch a total of 141 snares were lifted all of which targeted large game.

Finding such a large number of snares is shocking and means that the area is a poaching hotspot which needs to be patrolled on a monthly basis over a period of several days. The team also came across a buffalo carcass. The buffalo had become trapped in the snare and sadly died a slow painful death. The snare was still around the buffalo remains, showing that the animal died as a result of snaring.

Oza ranch

This area lies within the southern region of Tsavo West and is home to a many species of plants and animals of all sizes. The team has learned that over the past few months there has been an increase in the number of animals being found in the area. This is due to the continued patrols being conducted in an effort to curb poaching as well as our continued conservation education initiatives carried out in the schools and community areas, which has had a positive impact in our conservation efforts in the area. During our operations in the ranch the team lifted 14 snares all of which targeted small game.

Kishushe park boundary

This area is found in the Southern region of Tsavo West National park bordering Kishushe ranch. Animals have been found to criss-cross back and forth between the park and the ranch making it home to many species of animals of different sizes and thus playing an important role in the ecological balance of the area. During the teams operations in the area we noticed that there has been an increase in the occurrence of snaring in the area with 55 snares being lifted, all of which targeted large game.

The team organized an ambush to apprehend the culprits who were unfortunately unable to evade arrest as they spotted the team lying in wait and ran off leaving behind intestines from a poached animal.
The team will continue to patrol the area in the coming months in order to curb any poaching taking place.

Community Outreach

The team organized 2 Environmental Education trip into Tsavo West National Park. The schools that benefited from the field trips were Maktau Secondary school on the 10th of February and Chala Secondary school on the 11th of February.

During the trip the students were taken to some of the parks major attractions such as Mzima Springs, Shetani Lava, Aruba Dam, Mudada Rock, and Lugards Falls. The students also visited Ashnil hotel in Tsavo East National Park.

The students were lucky to see 3 of the big 5. They saw herds of elephants, and buffaloes as well as a number of lions and other animals such as giraffes, elands, zebras, lesser kudu, waterbuck and impalas among other wildlife.
The students were given a lot of information by the Ziwani team leader during the game drive. The schools were also taken to the education centers in Tsavo East and Tsavo west where they got information about the two parks and the ways that they could participate in the conservation of the two ecosystems.
Maktau secondary school was taken to Ashnil hotel where they were given a lecture about hotel management.
Everyone who took part in the trips thoroughly enjoyed themselves and thanked the trust for an unforgettable day.

On the 9th of February the Ziwani desnaring team donated 30 desks to Kishushe primary school. The desk donation was attended by students, teachers, parents and Kenya Wildlife Service Education Warden from Tsavo West National Park.

The school community thanked the Trust for helping with the schools lack of desks due to an over enrolment of students in the school following the free primary education initiative started by the government which has resulted in an increase in the number of children enrolling in school.
This has led to a lack of classes, desks and other school equipment and supplies.

On the 7th of February the team organized an environmental conservation awareness initiative at Maktau secondary school. The students who attended were treated to a video show and a conservation lecture.

The video show was enjoyed by everyone and the students learnt about the different ways that they could conserve our natural resources.

Report by Nicodemus Kivindyo