Tracing the tracks of the dead man (poacher).
In an earlier blog I had mentioned the story of the poacher who died in the forest after he accidentally stepped on an elephant snare that was set by another poacher who was targeting to kill an elephant. I later on when to do a follow up of that story and retraced the path taken by that poacher. I started by visiting the dead man’s family, I was taken to his family by some community members. I however did not refer to the dead man as a poacher this was to show some respect to the family. The family gave me their view of what they thought happened. I was also informed that on that fateful day the dead man was accompanied to the forest by his elder brother, his elder brother retraced the last moment and he even agreed to take me to the forest and show me the path where it all happened.
The household of the man.
We followed the path that the dead man took, as we continued following the path I came across 31 snares they seemed to be snares for small animals such as Sunis, however most of them were dismantled. The path we took lead us to the road from Kararacha to Nyari view point. At this particular spot the elder brother showed me the path that he had marked, it was sort of an agreement between him and his brother on which route not to take. Unfortunately it seemed the dead took a wrong path and ended up stepping on the snare. After stepping on the snare he tried to walk for a while however he could not go far as the poison on the snare was quickly running through his body, he decide to sit down and he asked his brother to go get help, when his brother returned with help unfortunately he was already dead. He quickly went back home to inform the rest what had happened and they found a way to carry his body from the forest.
Me being shown the path.
When I asked his brother what they were looking for in the forest he simply said mushrooms, I was not full convinced that they were looking for mushrooms, as why would they go deep in the forest to look for that and secondly why would they take the paths that are restricted, and why take the elephant tracks? I kept on wondering this but I did not want to raise it up with his brother as it would be pointless to argue with him on that.
The brother of the dead man holding mushrooms.
Personally I am very sorry that his brother died, am mostly sorry for his family. However I still feel that they had ill intentions especially where the elephants were concerned. The elephant trap has not been found till now and this poses a big risk not only to the elephants but to those who use the forest daily such as researchers, tourists and even me!
It was helpful to be shown the path and to follow it, we now have a clue where the traps could be located for we also took the GPS coordinates, it just a matter of time before we actually locate the them, in as much as we have a clue where to start from, no one is willing to take the risk of going to look for the traps without the proper equipment for fear of being the next victims. We tend to think that they are many snares in the forest.
As we lack the necessary equipment such as metal detectors to enable us to locate the traps quickly, the snare continue to pose a big risk. We are kindly requesting for your help in purchasing a metal detector and good walking boots, to be used for patrols in the forest, these equipment will assist us to remove the metal snare that are normally targeted for elephants and make the forest much safer for them and for people as well.
Yous David Ngala
Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest