Tag Archives: bushmeat

Ngala again!!! He uncovers more illegal snares and and cut stems in Arabuko forest

Sometimes I take a stroll in the Arabuko Sokoke forest to do bird watching and I never mind where I step because I really have my eyes fixed on the birds. I have been used to hanging my binoculars around my neck  and walking with my eyes fixed on tree branches and my ears keen to listen to bird calls. Last week on Friday I joined the Disney hero for snare and cut stem survey and was shocked after completing our 5km transect. I am Silas Ekesa and I am currently coordinating Ngala’s surveys and this opportunity has always given me a chance to unravel a lot of mysteries that still put our conservation efforts into a complex puzzle. We set our journey for Mkongani at exactly 8am, which was precisely 24hrs after I left the same forest at a different location after a whole night of camping  to trace the Sokoke Scops Owl. Ngala got me on a motorbike and we were there at exactly 9.30am. Right near to the edge of the forest at the beginning of the transect we came across a relatively open area where most Brachystagia and Manilkara spp had been cut down for charcoal burning and timber harvesting.

We counted up to 21 stems of cut tree within the first 2km and came across a few debarked trees which I couldn’t tell the reason why they were being debarked initially. Shortly afterwards,  we diverted and followed the transect deep into the forest away from the main path. Here, the forest became thick and bushy and that is when I started coming across the snares and had to think out why the snares were more common there. I realized that there different types of snares and Ngala explained to me the types according to the sizes and their position. There were snares for Duikers, Elephant shrews, Crested Guineafowls, Bushbucks and some meant to detect the presence of any other person passing through a given path. Ngala and I removed 21 snares by the time we got to the end of the transect and all of them were GPS marked for purposes of management and community-based environmental education.. On the way, we had also counted and recorded over 50 cut and debarked trees  whose GPS points were also taken.

 

 

During this survey, I noticed two things; one is that trees are poached near the main paths probably because of safety and ease of transport of timber and poles by poachers and two, the traps are laid away from the main paths probably because most of these animals are moving and feeding away from main paths where there is a lot of disturbance. You now know why you need to mind your steps.

There was very few animals we encountered while doing our survey which means there are chances that either they are migrating to run away from disturbance or they have been poached to critical levels. Our major worry and concern is about the local endemics such as the Elephant shrew and the Sokoke Scops Owl whose habitats are being damaged. David Ngala and I will continue with our efforts to conserve our forest and all the natural resources in it and we hope that your support through donations will boost us to conserve this only remaining patch of forest and the endemic species in it till you come to see it with your own eyes. Our pictures may not be of good quality because Ngala’s camera has a broken screen and I therefore used a poor quality camera.  Thanks to all of you who are already supporting us and we will keep you up to date with every step we take. Your support of this project is highly welcome through donations to help us get materials such as a good quality camera.

Research Computer fixed

It has been almost three months since the last post on the electric fence.The research computer that i was using to do Davids work  crashed and had to be taken for a repair.It was a major problem which took some time to be fixed.Because the problem was major,the GIS programme which i use in producing maps  was lost.This also took some time.We have two volunteers here who worked and were able to re install the programme.The computer is now fully fixed.

Research computer fixed

While the computer was not functioning, alot of activities were on with David.David has been going into to the forest with KWS and KFS staff more frequently now.Last week David and the  rangers were in the forest and were able to  rescue a trapped sykes monkey.

Trapped monkey

KFS rangers holding traps

Two tree poachers camps discovered in Arabuko-Sokoke

David  has been continuing with the surveys in the forest while I am still doing the final reports for last year. Last week on 04/02,  David and I went to the forest to do a survey. We went to Komani area to a place known as Munir site, which is in the middle of the Arabuko-Sokoke forest .It was a very rough ride since it is a very sandy road and we were on a motorbike, but David rides well. We arrived safely and started the survey at around 8:30am.

We were very lucky to see a Red duiker from afar immediately. We finished setting the GPS for the survey. This was my very first time to see a Red duiker and I was very excited. I wanted to take a picture, but the camera could not zoom in well ,the duiker was meters away. David explained that before, it was possible to see many of this species but due to destructions in the forest, we were very lucky to see one.

Again, this was a very lucky day for us to see another animal, and, this time, it was a dwarf mongoose. They are very fast animals and we were not able to take a picture, again, since it dashed away on seeing us, though it was very close. As we went further into the forest, we saw alot of destruction on the brachyleana tree species which is mostly used by poachers for carvings.

As we went further, we saw an abandoned camp site which had left overs of the carvings and also feathers of guinea fowl plus lots of paper bags.Abandoned campsiteThis path we took led us to another campsite, which we saw as active and though the poachers were not there. There was clear evidence that they had just left maybe to get other things since they left everything there. Water, cooking utensils, sleeping nets and even few of the carvings were left. We have already reported this to the concerned authorities – Kenya Forest Service(KFS) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), whose support we really appreciate.David and patrick on campOn this day we were not able to finish our survey, as David suddenly started feeling very sick that he had to go rest for 30 minutes. So we ended our survey at around 1:30pm. I had to ride back since David was not well.David resting

Snared suni rescued!

I surveyed an area of Vithundani Village on the North West of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. The habitat of the area is Cynometra thicket. I followed the path which was entering the forest and I found 43 animal snares. 17 snares were old were old and the rest were active. When I spotted the 7th snare, I found a female Suni was caught in it and still alive. I took a movement picture and then released it, as shown below.

SNV31584

In the same path, at the 19th snare, I found another Suni was caught, and the owner of the snares took some days without checking them. This caused the animal to become rotten as shown here, with only a piece of its leg left by the snare.

Skeleton of the trapped suni

Skeleton of the trapped suni

David Ngala

Why do people trap Golden-rumped Elephant-shrews??

After the last post, Dana commented asking why anyone would want to trap such a small mammal. The reason is as suggested – for food. Not a lot of meat on an elephant-shrew, but plenty enough for someone who doesn’t have any other meat option.

We have been trying to introduce alternative sources of meat / protien including keeping and raising guineafowl, chickens and rabbits but we were not able to really follow through so it hasn’t had much effect. The potential is there, however, to really be able to provide an alternative to bush meat.

Giant Pouched Rat trap in forest

New Bushmeat Control Officer working to support David

GREAT news is that we have Patrick Sirya working with the Bushmeat Committee that has been going for a year and that David has worked closely with, and Patrick is now working to help David with organising the data collection and report writing among many other things.

Patrick is from Gede right next to the forest and has worked with a Sykes Monkey research project in Gede Ruins forest for four years so is very familiar with forest life – and especially Sykes Monkeys! In fact he knows them all by name at the Ruins!

Patrick will be assiting to write the blog posts for David’s blog and hopefully since he is full time with the bushmeat work, will be able to post much more news and updates than I have been able to. Please give us your comments and feedback on how things are going – your support is hugely valuable to us.

by Colin – Chairman of Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke

Bush meat survey in Arabuko-Sokoke forest

Bush meat hunting in Arabuko-Sokoke forest is a major problem. Past conservation actions did not fully address the problem hence its recurrence. The most targeted species include Aders duiker, Golden Rumped Sengi, and Sokoke bush tailed mongoose.

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Illegal bush meat.

Two past surveys done in October and November, 2006 revealed an alarming situation on the game meat hunting. In just three weeks, 1087 snares were located and destroyed in the nature reserve. To estimate the number of traps in the entire forest may be difficult but there are all indications that there could be thousands of snares and other traps in which hundreds of animals are caught annually.

Local community has low awareness of the impact of their actions, the risk of catching insurable diseases and the legal implications of engaging in Bushmeat practices. Alternative sources of proteins do exist but they either are not aware of them or lack the resources and skills to adopt them.

Just three weeks ago David Ngala and Lucy Kapombe carried out a bush meat survey at the nature reserve in Arabuko-Sokoke forest and they were able to retrieve 113 snares.

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David Ngala – facilitating a bushmeat awareness meeting.

With support from KNH-NABU (Birdlife Germany), Nature Kenya together

with the bush meat awareness committee are carrying out a bush meat awareness programme in Arabuko-Sokoke forest and the surrounding communities.

This programme is aimed to create awareness on the negative effects of bushmeat hunting to the community and alternatives the community can use. Bushmeat hunting has led to various health implications such as the Ebola virus, rift valley fever, rabies, yellow fever among others, these infection have jumped from primates to people on at least seven separate occasions in recent history.

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