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APU Field Report- March 2020

March was a relatively quiet month for us in the field, although one incident will remain etched in our memory for some time to come. There was a notable increase in bushmeat poaching incidents, with one topi sighted with an arrow embedded in it's head, and a zebra with a spear embedded in it's rear leg. Sadly both sightings were in the late evening and attempts to separate the injured animals from the herd for treatment proved futile. Attempts to find them on the following days were also regrettably, unsuccessful.

On the 16th of March while on routine foot patrol, our rangers came upon a suspect engaging in illegal palm wine harvesting. The suspect immediately attacked our teams with a sharp knife and in the tussle ended up causing injury to himself as one ranger disarmed him. He was taken the hospital for treatment before being booked at the station.

In total, the team issued one warning, made three successful arrests while one suspect escaped. A total of 37 wood posts were …
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APU Field Report- February 2020

February was an eventful month for the team. We conducted daily foot patrols successfully together with the Kenya Wildlife Service; and had the following results:

3 cases of illegal fishing: 1 net and 2 fishing spears were confiscated and suspects given warning.3 cases of illegal palm wine harvesting: 2 knives and machetes were confiscated and suspects warned2 cases of charcoal burning and transporting: 3 bags of charcoal, 1 spade and 2 shovels confiscated1 case of deforestation: 10 posts recovered1 case of bushmeat poaching: 2 snares and 1 bicycle recovered. A total of 6 warnings were given to suspects, while 2 suspects escaped arrest by our teams, who remain to follow up those incidents closely.

A farewell to an elephant

My Tomorrow, Today.

My deepest desire is freedom. My earnest wish is peace.
In my few years of fighting, we will win, i know this.
There are days I wish to run and live free.
Live joyfully among the beasts and the trees.

Alas my heart cannot know peace. I was built, for bigger things.
When the rivers run free, and the wilderness is safe
I will create within it, my own little nest
I shall not steal, I shall not burn
This will be my right, this I will earn.

No matter how many tears I shed,
I will weep no more, indeed, I too, have bled.
Pray for me, brother, my fight is yours
for the children of tomorrow, this is our war.

Until we are safe, and our souls truly free
I continue to dream of my little nest under a tree.
The city lights are too bright, it's sounds frighten me
This is a new Africa, the belly of greed

By day they smile, by night the steal,
all of Africa's treasures, all our future meals.
Those we hoped would bring salvation,
are bit by demons, they are our damnation

While others fall, and fail in patience,

...Of White Blood.

It is the night of the 18th of July, 2011. 0400hrs, and I have been tossing and turning all night. It is only hours away, and I will be there in person. The Ivory Burn.
When I was a little girl, I watched it on the television, and read about it for many years in many books and prints. It moved me. It moulded me. Tonight, it frightens me.
I didn’t know back then, that I would live to witness another event of this nature. I didn’t know back then, that I would see the face of its reason. So here I am, wondering what the coming hours will bring. More than anything else, I fear how I will feel.
Not too many months ago, I had the honour of assisting Danny Woodley’s team in Tsavo West with some rhino tracking and a census as a volunteer. I learnt a lot from that trip, and saw a lot too. After our day of tracking, I requested to see some of the confiscated trophies from the store. Three rangers unlocked the huge padlock and walked into a very dark room. My heart did not know what to expect. Minu…

Meeting with Dr. Richard Leakey

Wilbur Smith’s "Elephant Song". I remember the first time I read that book, about 5 years ago. His words cut through my heart like a heated knife through butter. I could imagine it so vividly, I may as well have been there and borne witness to the massacre of the gentle giants we all know as the elephant.
I never could finish that book; it was too painful for my heart to bear. Elephants have always had a special place in my heart, as do all wildlife. Something purely magical about each one that I cannot really explain. Having grown up in the eighties, one couldn’t help but be drawn to the politics and controversy surrounding these majestic ‘beasts’ of the African wilderness. I grew up in that time. Hunts were the norm a few years prior, and then, the big one. The ivory ban. Kenya was put on the world map in a gust of flames and a cloud of smoke thick as the canopy of our once great forests.
How I remember that day. I was glued to that television like my life was on the line. …

What’s that “60” on your profile picture mean?

I can’t tell you how many people have asked me that question...
Everytime i hear it, i shed a silent tear...
“60”... just a number, yet for me, a symbol of strength, courage, failure, perseverance, suffering, love, magnificence, torture, and so much more...
I remember waking up in the morning, excited to be packing my supplies for rukinga, where I volunteer for wildlife works regularly on their anti-poaching patrols and desnaring activites.
I got my menu sorted, checked my sunblock and toothbrush (the things I ALWAYS seem to leave behind! ), and started loading everything in the car. Throught the entire busride, I couldn’t stop thinking of what I would encounter this time, every time is different, some days are quiet, some days, are unbelievably eventful... I slept the rest of the way.
I arrived in rukinga later that night, and was greeted by one of the staff, I couldn’t sleep without getting an update first; I had been told about the rise in poaching in that area, especially elephant poac…

Someone asked me, "do you still cry at the atrocious things you see or over time become hardened to it?" ...

This was my reply to Lisa Tieni:

i'm not sure my words will be helpful, but i will write from the heart, as i always do...
do i still cry?...
everyday... without fail... i have seen things that would crumble a man in a second, i have smelt the death of wildlife, i have touched it, i have heard its sound, the sound of working maggots inside the body of a poached, faceless elephant...
there is no getting over it...
i have held dying animals, and i remember them all the time, i remember the tears they shed on my clothes, i remember the pain in their cries, in their eyes...
there is no getting over it...
i remember my ol'boy... George. my lion spirit, and best friend, i remember the day he was taken from me, they din't even call me, i didn't know... i never got to say goodbye... i was his only friend, his only company all those years in his rusty cage... i never got to tell him, it would all be ok, and he would be in a better place...
i never got to hold my ol'boy …