Wambua Kikwatha – team leader
4 KWS rangers
The areas patrolled this month were Murka, the general area around Maktau, the Mzima Springs pipeline and the Tsavo River. We also visited the Kishushe ranches, Lake Jipe and its environs, the Taita hills sanctuary and the Lumo community wildlife sanctuary.
TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 112
This month’s operations started with the rescue of snared baby elephant in the Taita hills sanctuary. We received a report from the sanctuaries staff and we immediately informed the vet. The snare was successfully removed from the calf which was happily reunited with its family.
For two days we tried to find the herd but were unsuccessful. This shows that the calf was healing and that it was able to walk great distances in search of water with the rest of its family. Two days later we received a report about a baby elephant that had fallen into a sewage hole.
The calf was completely covered with only its trunk appearing above the water. The sanctuary staff were able to rescue the calf minutes before we arrived. Fortunately the calf’s mother was waiting nearby and upon rescue the calf joined her. Our team covered the hole with stones in order to avoid anything similar happening in the future and we also told the management that they have to cover all such holes in the area as they are dangerous and a hazard to the wildlife in the area.
We have not visited the Lake Jipe area for the last five months and according to several reports poaching using the torch and horn method is taking place in the area. The main activity observed by the team during our patrols is livestock grazing by the nearby community.
We arrested six grazers who were booked at the Taveta police station.
We also observe that charcoal burning and logging is taking place near the Kajaro and Mitakuja areas, which is inhabited mainly by the Kamba people. Three charcoal burners were arrested in this area and booked at the Taveta police station.
We received a report about an elephant with a snare around its leg. After 3 days of searching we were unable to find it.
The Mzima springs pipeline and the Tsavo River are the current poaching hotspots. We received a report of four poachers, three of which were armed with bows and arrows, and one with a gun. Our team was joined by the Ziwani platoon rangers and we were able to arrest one poacher.
Unfortunately another six poachers managed to escape. We lifted 55 snares set for large game and arrested six miners a few meters from the Tsavo River, and were booked at Taveta police station.
We have observed that most of the poaching is taking place on private land. This is a result of the continuous de-snaring patrols carried out in the park by our team. As a result many livestock keepers are loosing their livestock to these snares.
One person reported having lost six cows to a poacher with another having lost three. Three poachers were arrested in possession of game meat and were booked at Taveta police station.
We were able to lift a further 57 snares making it a total of 112 snares lifted this month all of which targeted large game. In the Murka and Maktau areas we did not find any snares but we did receive reports that poaching was being carried out at night using the torch and horn method.
Report by Wambua Kikwatha