Mid-year 2012 Field Update
Here is a long overdue field update from TCP. I am also working to get a webpage for the project up and running, soon. It's been very busy in the field... combined with writing grant proposals for all our field needs and issues with technology in the bush!. Thank you to all our readers for their patience
Thus far, capture data from deployed camera traps have provided us with the necessary evidence to carry out ongoing monitoring of cheetahs within that immediate area inside the park, as well as information on the presence of natural prey and other potentially threatened predators in the region. Obviously these findings provoke worry for the cheetahs, lions and other species whom are being prosecuted against, even in a 'protected national park'. We are continuing to move forward with the camera trapping study design, and also proceed in neighboring tribal communities where cheetah conflict (or lack of education on the species-- fear) and deaths have recently occurred. These latter locations were proclaimed off boundaries to all conservationists, during the past couple of months, due to a high level of armed poaching on neighboring ranches, and the shooting of killing of two Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers in March.
At this stage, deployment within the park boundaries is expected to provide even more captures, thus confirmation of predator – and specifically cheetah, movements from inside to outside park boundaries and herders and livestock from outside to within park boundaries, along with possible captures of livestock or predator deaths, as a result.
This information is very important in order to work effectively with these residents, for our cheetah monitoring, and also to provide to KWS for increased enforcement and policy development within Tsavo East National Park. Scientifically, camera trap data will also help us to understand when and why cheetahs are predating on livestock when there are adequate prey species populations available. The camera trap deployment inside the park will be carried out with the hiring of a KWS park ranger to protect the cameras from potential vandalism or bandits.
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