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Greatest Poachers of Tsavo Park in 1950's and 1960's Were Waliangulu

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  Jan Saturday, 11 December 2010 01:10

Greatest Poachers of Tsavo Park in 1950's and 1960's Were Waliangulu

Greatest Poachers Of Tsavo Park In 1950’s And 1960’s Were Waliangulu

 

Poaching for meat has been
there since the beginning of time


Coastweek
December 10, 2010

 

 I read Shazad Kasmani’s report on the 'Tsavo Wildlife being Snared' with some trepidation:

As wildlife managers our problem in those long gone halcyon days was and still should be one of preserving species and not individual animals.

Natural mortality as well as mortality induced by meat-hungry humans will always occur. The problem in Kenya is not so much of education as it is of the burgeoning human population.

Poaching for meat has been there since the beginning of time.

The great poachers of Tsavo in the 1950’s and 1960’s were the Waliangulu and the notorious ones were Abakuna Gumundi and Galgalo Kafonde. Their killing of elephants was not for ivory, but rather for the meat which was dried into biltong and served to feed their now almost extinct hunter/ gatherer tribe. What Mr. Kasmani witnessed and photographed is quite common among meat-hungry people.

The “poacher” sets a wire snare in the form of a loop which tightens into a noose.

He selects a regular game path to a waterhole or a migratory trail for this purpose.

The noose wire is strongly anchored to a tree.

Once the animal’s neck is in the noose, it tightens with every move forward.

Under these circumstances it is better to inform the warden in charge, who would then come and despatch the ailing or snared buffalo by shooting it dead.

This may sound inhumane, but trying to save it by immobilisation is costly in the case of a buffalo.

When the price of ivory shot up in the mid 1970’s, it was then that elephants took a devastating toll in numbers.

We did go after these poachers and the smugglers who were based in Nairobi and Mombasa , but even after a conviction, the courts imposed ridiculously lenient sentences which never deterred the criminals.

The wildlife problems in today’s Kenya are in the main aggravated by increasing human populations and the encroachment of national parks and game reserves as well as greed.

Back in the 1960’s it was not unusual to see a herd of Cape buffalo numbering a thousand, and well outside Tsavo East National Park .

It was in those days that one could also see sable antelopes in Vitengeni in the Malindi and Kilifi Districts.

The areas east of Tsavo East have always been frequented by poachers and even worse are those stretches to the north of the Galana River dubbed ‘no man’s land’.

While education in schools and among communities living in the proximity of national parks is important emphasising the importance of wildlife as a renewable natural resource is essential only if communities living close to these great parks can profit from these animals.
 
Various tourism and conservation organisations are doing this, but the daunting task is our population, for we have overrun this planet and there hardly seems to be space for other creatures!

Mohamed Ismail, Eden Prairie , U.S.A.

Article & photo at:  http://www.coastweek.com/3350-44.htm