28 August 2012
Categories: Homepage News, Kenya News
Our recent mission to the Naivasha and Nakuru Conservation area coincided with the 23rd Anniversary of the death of George Adamson, a legendary man who continues to inspire us.
After watching Mizoga, Born Free’s very popular film on the bushmeat problem in Kenya, and keenly listening to our presentation about bushmeat, a little girl aged nine (one of around 500 children present), raised her hand to get our attention, and asked in broken English “Why do some people snare and kill zebras”? To the dismay of the little girl and many others in the room, we explained how poachers kill and sell bushmeat, including zebras, to unsuspecting people.
Indeed, the truth of the matter is that these illegally-acquired animal carcasses are never inspected by health officers, are never killed humanely and pose a great danger to consumers’ lives. Although the children in this audience were young, aged between six and fifteen, they seemed to understand the need to protect these animals. They listened patiently as we explained that animals, just like people, had a sense of pain and need to be treated with love and care!
We pitched our tents in the Naivasha area. “The black Land Rover is back!” A common phrase when the local people see our Born Free Land Rover in the area. Its presence is, in itself, a deterrent to poachers!
With our team, backed up by Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers and Wildlife Clubs of Kenya and community volunteers, we started off checking all the hot spots areas for snares, before random checks in other areas. On our very first morning, we spotted a dead Eland and later, a dead Impala. In our patrols later the same day we came across an Impala which was clearly on its last legs. Luckily the KWS vet team, which is always a phone call away, was at hand to help save the Impala.
The snaring problem continues to pose serious challenges to conservation and to our wildlife heritage. For those of us who have seen first-hand the suffering snared animals experience before they die, these terrible experiences inspire us to continue in our anti-poaching work.
Compared to previous years, there are indications that the snaring problem is on the decline. During a week’s de-snaring operation, that would have yielded hundreds of snares in the past, we retrieved 32 snares, 17 of which were ‘live’. This is still a big number of snares, which if unchecked, can continue claiming hundreds of animal lives each month. It is apparent that the poachers may also be using many other methods such as poisoned arrows and dogs: but at no time will we ever plan to give it up, or at least not until we can be assured that the animals are safe.
Two days before we wrapped up our mission in Soysambu, we lifted 76 more snares, 33 of which were live. Our partners in this area, including Kenya Wildlife Service, Soysambu Conservancy and local community members, have continued to do a fantastic job of saving our wild animals, a vital effort for which we sincerely thank them.
Victor Mutumah - Programmes Officer