The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) Mau De-Snaring Unit continues to be a textbook example of the impact a permanent ranger presence can have in an unprotected area like the Mau Forest. In the first half of 2019 (January to June), the SWT Mau De-Snaring Unit removed 113 snares targeting small animals and nine spears targeting elephants, arrested seven suspects for illegal logging and one for charcoal production, recovered eight timber posts, five Olea Africana posts, 60 cedar posts, 30 white podo timber posts, destroyed five kilns, eight poacher’s camps, 16 charcoal sacks, confiscated one pit saw and seized 70 kg of bushmeat.
Bushmeat snares removed in the Mau Forest in January 2019.
In July, the SWT Mau De-Snaring Unit took government officials to the areas in the Mau Forest where logging, farming and charcoal production continue. This spurred a larger operation to evict these illegal users/exploiters of the forest. This on top of them recovering 720 pieces of cedar and arresting five suspects for illegal logging in July. Then, in August, the situation report highlighted the need to continue to diligently and aggressively address illegal logging and the need for further protection in areas like the Mau. MEP rangers recovered 6,200 cedar posts during the month of August alone. They also destroyed three kilns and seven sacks of charcoal, made one arrest of two suspects transporting charcoal and removed two snares. In September, the SWT Mau De-Snaring Unit rangers along with Kenya Wildlife Service arrested a bushmeat poacher and confiscated 11 poison arrows in the Mau Forest. They also destroyed six kilns, four sacks of charcoal, one pit saw and removed 61 snares. In October, they destroyed 23 kilns, 55 bags of charcoal, confiscated 40 illegally logged posts, removed six snares and arrested 10 suspects for illegal logging.
80 pieces of cedar recovered in the Mau Forest and one arrest in July.
The success of the SWT Mau De-Snaring Unit and the continued need for more protection of the Mau Forest convinced the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to agree to fund a second team in the Mau Forest to conduct anti-poaching patrols! This will increase MEP’s area of coverage in the Mau, which is in need of more protection. In October, we ran the selection process for the new Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Mau De-Snaring Unit and the nine cadets have since reported to MEP HQ and started their six-week basic training. The training will be run by MEP NCOs and by Narok County Government officers. They have all been measured for their uniforms and we are collecting all of their equipment. We look forward to mobilizing the new team in December.
The second SWT Mau Team being trained at MEP HQ.
Collaborative efforts between Kenyan-based organizations like Mara Elephant Project and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust will ensure that Kenya’s wildlife, habitat and communities all have a secure future.