Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 January 2010

Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 January 2010

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Participants

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

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas patrolled included Oza Ranch, Kishushe Ranch, Lualeyni Ranch, and Mwatate Sisal Estate.

182 SNARES COLLECTED

Introduction

Kenya has undergone allot of hardship over the last year and a half as a result of one of the worst droughts it has ever endured. The entire Nation eagerly awaited the expected arrival of the rains during the November- December period. Although some rain did arrive and the drought stricken land transformed into a green and flourishing land this long awaited moment was sadly short lived. As soon as the land & wildlife began to recover the rains stopped and the land is again slowly drying up. This only gave wildlife short period of lower poaching activity as many poachers went to attend to their farms and plant crops. Now that the dryness is setting in many poachers have returned to poach wildlife as their main source of income. This pattern is evident by the marked increase in poaching activity observed during the month. If the weather dos not improve and bring sufficient rain it is likely that poaching and other illegal activities will return to their old level during the peak of the drought. During a normal year, illegal activities increase during the dry season and decrease during the rainy season. Last years drought ended up in the Parks taking a severe blow with illegal activities reaching the highest levels they had over the last 5 years. Allot of wildlife died due to the drought and without recovery of the land more will be lost in this way. The Team predicts that without rain until the next expected rainy season due in April, the next few months will show high levels of poaching which will require tough and vigilant policing by the Team.

During January’s patrols a total of 182 snares were lifted in all areas covered. Out if these 161 targeted big game such as buffalo and 21 targeted small game.

The Team rescued a common duiker from a snare at Mwatate Sisal Estate and released it back into the wild in a safer area with less intensive poaching. Charcoal burning is a major problem in Kishushe Ranch as well as the Park boundary.

Findings

Oza & Kishushe Ranch

These Ranches lies bellow the Southern region of Tsavo West National Park and serve as important migratory corridors for wildlife to and fro Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. Thanks to the December rains this area is still relatively green and hence has attracted a lot of game. During Patrols in Oza Ranch 22 snares were lifted of which 14 targeted small game and 8 targeted big game.

A long fence was found, built to herd and trap game. The Team spent over an hour destroying this fence.
Kishushe Ranch had a lot of illegal Charcoal Burning taking place.
Destruction of habitat is a big problem on this ranch. Many more habitat specific & sensitive animals suffer from this destruction.

Mwatate Sisal Estate

This sisal plantation is privately owned and covers a large area that borders National Parks and private Ranches. Some of this plantation has been left untouched and is home to wild animals. The Team lifted a total of 153 snares during patrols. Out of the total snares collected, 146 snares were set underground targeting big game that makes its way through the old sisal plantation rows.

Hiding the snares in this way makes it harder for animals to see the snare and increases the number of animals getting trapped.
A male Bush Duiker was rescued from a snare, found trapped by the front leg.
Thankfully the Duiker was not trapped for long and hence the snare had not cut into the skin. The Team phoned the Mobile Vet Unit before releasing the Duiker to make sure the injury sustained is not life threatening. The Duiker suffered minor bruising and was released back into the wild.

Lualeyni Ranch

This Ranch underwent severe devastation during the drought. The vegetation is beginning to recover and wildlife had begun to return.

A total of 7 snares were collected, all targeting big game. Although poaching is still relatively low in this area, as wildlife continues to migrate back to the Ranch poachers will follow. The Team needs to keep a close eye on this area.

Report by Nicodemus Kivindyo