Towett on Snares

by | Feb 18, 2016

Lets face it; the media can get us down at the best of times and especially when it comes to conservation. Poaching, especially of elephants and rhino in African continent attracts the attention of media, the sad reality is thousands of other species are also dying on a daily basis through the bush-meat trade as a result of snaring.


These small species are fundamental to the ecosystems that sustain life on Earth. By taking more than nature can replenish, we are jeopardizing our own future. Their decline is an indicator of the damage we are doing to our ecosystems. It is a grave warning that we must not ignore.

While it must be granted that some of this snaring is genuinely for the subsistence of impoverished communities, the vast majority of animals are killed through greed for the commercial bush-meat trade.


Desnaring in Tsavo West

Game scouts/rangers dealing with this bush-meat trade face poachers that are often
armed with weapons like spears, bush knives and even firearms and who are often accompanied by packs of hunting dogs. Scouts need to carry out regular snare sweeps that will often net dozens of snares at a time that have been carefully hidden along game trails, water sources and in thick bush where they are difficult to find.


Where the snares are found freshly laid, game scouts will lie in ambush for hours waiting for the hunters return. When some of the poachers are actually caught, the judiciary often sees this as a “minor crime” and hands out weak or no sentences.


Moreover, often these deadly rings of wire are forgotten by the poachers and can lie in the bush for years randomly catching any animal that wanders past. Sometimes the animal manages to break free and then dies a slow painful death due to the infection from the terrible wounds. Wildlife is being decimated at all levels and our conservation staff/partners need our full support in undertaking their difficult and often dangerous duties.

The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.


tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.

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