The forest has many water ponds which fill during both the short and long rains. During the wet seasons, animals can find water throughout the forest, however the ponds dry up during the dry season which then causes problems for local wildlife, especially elephants, who are trapped inside the forest by the electric fence.
There is a water pond in the Arabuko area which keeps water for a long time and is the last to dry out. This year, it dried in the middle of September and the elephants could no longer get water unless they leave the forest. However, the electric fence covers almost the whole forest, except the part between Girimacha and Boga Machuko villages.
Elephants have been around the forest for a long time, but today face problems not only from water shortages, but also forest disturbances and tree and animal poaching. The day to day Elephants are the indicator of the forest destruction.
We have spotted many snares and cut trees around the forest, as well as two elephant skeletons with their tusks removed. A poacher also recently died in the forest, having stepped on a poisoned metal spike – a real threat to others of us using the forest.
The forest now lies across the boundaries of 3 districts – Kilifi, Ganze and Malindi and has 3 forest stations, which are Gede, Jilore and Sokoke Forest. The officers in charge have demarcated the forest in three blocks and every officer is controlling / patrolling his / her bit, though this is not proving enough.
Ganze is a new District which borders the forest between Dzunguni and Malanga villages on the south and north western sides of the forest. Kilifi District borders the forest between Dzunguni and Matsangoni villages on the South and East of the forest, whilst Malindi District borders the forest wetween Matsangoni and Malanga villages on the East and North West of the forest respectively.
Due to the establishment of the new district, Sokoke Forest Station lies under Ganze District and Kilifi seems to have no Forest Station. In my opinion, a recommendation can be made to use Karacha as a new Forest Station under Kilifi, with its own Forester.
Kenya Wildlife Service at Gede Station play an important role in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve and the surrounding areas. It could be a nice idea if a Game Warden or Assistant Warden were posted at Sokoke Forest Station to reduce illegal activities and human and animal conflict.