Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 September 2009

Simba Team Ziwani Update: 01 September 2009

Share the article

Participants: Nicodemus Kivindyo-Team Leader John Mungai Adan Abdi Boru Okichi Joshua Muthoka 2 KWS Rangers

Areas covered

During the month of September the Ziwani Team conducted its de-snaring activities at the following areas: the Taita Wildlife Sanctuary, the Lumo community sanctuary and Oza Ranch

341 SNARES COLLECTED

Findings

During the months operations the team lifted a total of three hundred and forty one snares with 189 targeting large game and 152 targeting small game.

The team also came across several carcasses two elephants that died of natural causes, three buffaloes one killed by poachers and two from natural causes, three hartebeests two from natural causes and one by poachers, two zebras one killed by poachers and one from natural causes, three elands all killed by poachers, and one impala which died a natural death.

The team has come to realise that there is an increase in the mortality rate of animals in all the areas patrolled. This increase is due to the high volumes of animals migrating to the area in search of browse, which due to the drought is scarce. This increase means there is more competition for both food and water leading to the death of animals that are not able to compete effectively for the available resources.

Observable Evidence

Due to the ongoing devastating drought the month of September revealed an upward trend in the number of snares being lifted, with 341 snares being lifted, the highest number recorded by the team this year.

There has also been an increase in the number of carcasses being found by the team due not only to the drought but also due to poaching. The increase in the number of snares being lifted outside the protected areas is a sign that more patrols need to be carried out in areas around the park as bush meat consumption is on the rise due to the drought and the current economic hardships being experienced throughout the country.

Taita wildlife sanctuary

This area lies under the southern part of Tsavo West National Park and is home to may species of animals with many migrating into the area in search of water which can be found here as the waterholes often get filled by the Sanctuary. The increase in the number of animals in the Sanctuary has taken its tole on the vegetation and habitat which has been degraded over the past few months.

During our operations in the area we lifted 22 snares all of which targeted large game. We came across the carcass of a dead buffalo in a snare; the poachers had removed all the meat, leaving behind the head, skin and intestines.

We came across several other carcasses during our patrols, including a bull elephant which was a victim of the drought.

KWS was notified so that they could come and retrieve the tusks. We also found the carcasses of three buffaloes, 1 hartebeest and a zebra.
The buffalo and zebra had both been killed by poachers while the hartebeest died of natural causes.
The drying where animals were getting stuck has now dried up completely and is no longer a threat to the wildlife.
Oza Ranch This area lies under the southern part of Tsavo West National Park and is an important migratory corridor from Tsavo East to Tsavo West. Currently many herds are using the corridor, especially the bigger antelopes. The communities adjacent to these areas have noticed the migratory trend and have been setting snares to trap the animals passing through the corridor. During our patrols in the area we lifted a total of 306 snares, 154 targeting large game and 152 targeting small game. Four carcasses were seen, one of a hartebeest and three elands. All the animals had been killed by snares set by poachers operating in the area.

Lumo Community Sanctuary This area lies under the southern part of Tsavo West National park and hosts many animals that have migrated to the area in search of pasture and water. The team lifted a total of 13 snares all of which targeted large game. We also noticed that charcoal burning is taking place in the park.

The team came across several carcasses during our patrols, one of which was a young elephant of about 3 years of age.

The tusks were retrieved and handed over to the KWS community office in Voi. A dead hartebeest was also found at the community park boundary. The carcass was very fresh which led us to the conclusion that the poachers had fled the scene upon hearing our vehicle.
Other carcasses found by the team were a zebra and an impala both of which were victims of the prevailing drought.
Community work This month the team organised two ecological trips to Tsavo West National Park for Alan Mjomba Secondary school and Ngami Secondary school. The trips took place on the 21st and 22nd of the month. The students who participated in the trips had never been to the park and were thus exploring their natural resources for the firs time.

During the ecological trips the students were lucky to see many different animal species including Elephants, leopard and buffaloes.

They also visited areas of interest such as Mzima Springs and Shetani lava. The students were also taken to the education centre where they were given lectures about the park and the wildlife found there.

The two schools praised the trust’s initiative to sponsor trips into the park as no one that attended would have been able to benefit from the experience as they would not have been able to afford to undertake such an excursion on their own. Report by Nicodemus Kivindyo