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Field Report: May-June 2020 "Building Camp & Chasing Night Poachers"

 


June was a month of rebuilding after returning to the field. The pandemic forced all members of the team to remain at home, observing government protocols to stay safe.

When we finally returned to camp, we found it in a dilapidated condition, and decided to rebuild what we could. With support from partners and friends, we were able to purchase new mattresses and mosquito nets for the whole team, and also metal sheeting which was used to rebuild the long-drop and shower cubicles.

We also worked on the gutter to harvest rainwater for emergencies into our camp 5000-litre tank.


Previously the long drop and shower facilities were covered in palm fronds, however due to heavy rains during the floods in the previous month, the structure began to fall apart.


This is what the facilities look like now, with metal sheeting along the sides and the top to protect from the elements!

We have placed the facilities away from the living quarters in a cleared area to also ensure everyone using the facilities has clear walkways especially at night to prevent any encounters with snakes. 

Living next to a waterpan, the presence of frogs during the wet season attracts a lot of snakes, some of them venomous- such as black mambas, cobras and puff adders. We are always wary of this, and our rangers are trained regularly on First Aid lifesaving skills should they need it.

Ulinzi Africa Foundation also has emergency airlift cover for all rangers to ensure evacuation is smoothly executed if needed.



This Machete was recovered from two poachers who unfortunately escaped after targeting a resident zebra herd. 

The torches are attached to bicycle horns and rigged up with up to eight large batteries. When switched on, the siren lets out a shrill sound that stuns the animal completely while the light from the bright torch blinds it. The second poacher, then approaches the victim from the back and slashes it's tendons with a machete, instantly causing it to fall, ready for them to slaughter and harvest the meat.

Bushmeat poaching on a commercial scale is a serious problem in this region and we are working around the clock to try and mitigate it as much as possible together with Kenya Wildlife Service.

There is a saying in Swahili, "Siku za maize ni arubaini." - Translated as every thief has forty days. 

We are confident that these two poachers will be caught soon.



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