The Anti-Ivory Club at the Sega Girls School in Tanzania took a 3-day research and reporting field trip on October 18-20, 2013 to visit the Jukumu Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Below is the trip report from their teacher and club sponsor Mr. Enock Gray. What a tremendous learning adventure for these young ladies! Please stay tuned, as more will follow on what the girls learned and what they plan to do next.
Friday Oct. 18, 2013 – Departing for Jukumu WMA
The club members left SEGA at 7:20 AM. They were 36 members out of 46 members. 10 members from form IV did not travel as they are preparing for the national examinations. The club patron Mr. Enock Gray and Madam Hilda Luvunzu, who has decided to join the group as a teacher, accompanied the club.
SEGA IVORY CLUB BOARDING A BUS TO JUKUMU WMA ON 18/10/2013
We were to take with us the Morogoro District Game Officer Mr. Jontas Sume from his office. His office had prepared a PowerPoint that helped us much to be effective in our trip. The members had an ample time to digest and review the information given by the PowerPoint.
SOME MEMBERS OF IVORY CLUB WATCHING THE POWERPOINT ABOUT JUKUMU WMA:
We left the office of Wildlife at 9:40 AM and the members had great time to see and learn a lot of features on the way to JUKUMU. From Morogoro town to Mvuha village where we made our base station is about 120 KM and due to rough roads and mountains it took us over 5 hours. Most of the places we passed looks well kept and vegetation is intact.
We reached Mvuha village at 2:20 PM and settled in Guest houses. Lunch was already prepared and we had spiced rice, salads, vegetables and water.
Sega Girls Meet with Leaders of Jukumu WMA
We had the timetable to follow and were scheduled to visit the offices of JUKUMU WMA Society at the next village about 30 KM away called Kilengezi . We were warmly welcomed by the JUKUMU WMA leadership of Ramadhani Kibali (Chairperson), Abdul Kizua (Secretary), Nassor Mbande (Accountant) and Juma Gumi (Cashier). There were also a good number of Rangers as well as some members of the society who were interested to come and see what was going on.
WALKING FROM THE ROAD TO THE JUKUMU WMA OFFICES.
Club Receives Seminar on “WMAs: What Can the Society Do?”
The District Game Officer Mr. Jontas Sume opened the meeting by introducing the club to the JUKUMU WMA as well leaders of the Society. We started our seminar at 4:10 PM under the theme called: “WMAs : What Can the Society Do?”
JUKUMU Society Chairperson Mr. Kibali explained to the club that JUKUMU is the first WMA to function in Tanzania in 1996 and it covers over 750 KM SQ of land. The area has 21 villages and in the middle, near Dutumi village, there is a Game Reserve with all wild animals including the “Big Five” of Tanzania, i.e., Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Hippos and Leopards.
JUKUMU Society was established by law of the Tanzania parliament and it gave the people living in the villages responsibility to protect wildlife. The people themselves are charged with power to decide on what are the best ways to protect the wildlife. The law also put down clearly that the people are to benefit from what they protect. It become fully independent in 2006. The JUKUMU WMA is in fact the “teacher” to all other WMAs in Tanzania.
LISTENING WITH DEEP CONCENTRATION!!! (JUKUMU WMA)
Objectives of the Jukumu WMA
The members wanted to know the Objectives of establishing JUKUMU WMA in 1996. The Chairperson Mr. Ramadhani Kibali stipulated the objectives of his society as follows:
- To promote awareness of belonging to the villages around the WMA. Make people understand that the wildlife belongs to them and that they are responsible to protect and right to benefit from the wildlife.
- To protect wildlife in the WMA and in so doing to benefit from the protected wildlife and environment.
- To be responsible for planning and utilization of natural resources present in the WMA e.g land, water, vegetation and animals.
- To procure Investors to support development projects such as water, health, transport and education.
- To conserve the environment for today’s uses as well as the future uses. These includes rivers, lakes, land, animals and birds.
Girls Ask About Achievements of the Jukumu WMA
Yustina John (Club Secretary) wanted to know the Achievements of the JUKUMU WMA society. The JUKUMU WMA Secretary Mr. Kizua Abdallah answered as follows:
“As the first WMA in Tanzania, JUKUMU has achieved several achievements. We have conserved the environment. We have protected wildlife, especially the endangered species like Elephants and Rhinos. We have also returned benefits to the people from Tourism activities in the WMA.”
Achievements of JUKUMU WMA:
a) To a large part the environment is well conserved.
b) Endangered species of animals are protected and have been increased in number since its establishment.
c) The Investor who invested in the area to carry out Tourism and Hunting activities has employed over 200 local people.
d) Over 65 poachers have been comprehended by the WMA Rangers. Unfortunately the Legal system in Tanzania is not so fast as to put them in jail. And the penalty of a guilty poacher can be a Fine of 30,000/= Tshs about $20 USD!!!
MOROGORO DISTRICT WILDLIFE OFFICER JONTAS (L) AND MR. KIZUA A . THE CHAIRMAN OF JUKUMU WMA EXPLAINING A POINT TO THE SEGA CLUB:
e) More than 100 bicycles have been caught by the WMA Rangers. Poachers use bicycles to move around the Reserve area. Poachers ran and left behind their bicycles and weapons.
f) Some of the income made by the Investors from Hunting and Tourism goes to improve the Education and Health Services. There are several classrooms, dispensaries and teachers’ houses built from the contribution of the Investor.
g) Each year the government gives “QUARTER” to the villages. It is a certain number of animals which the society can use for meat or can decide to earn money by game hunting.
h) More people from around the WMA are aware of the importance of wildlife and that they have the duty to protect endangered species of animals such as Elephants.
SEGA SCHOOL ANTI IVORY CLUB PATRON MR. ENOCK GRAY (R) WITH SOME CLUB MEMBERS AND JUKUMU WMA RANGER MR. LEO MBENA. MEMBERS ARE FROM LEFT STANDING: AGNES, HAPPYNESS, HAWA AND FROM LEFT SITTING JANETH, MARIA AND MARIA.
Challenges Facing the Jukumu WMA
The seminar came now to a great part of what are the challenges facing the WMA?? The WMA Secretary Mr. Abdallah Kizua started by saying that: “As the oldest WMA in the country we have the oldest problems as well!!! In fact the WMA has many problems in terms of policies as well as operational.”
Setbacks & Challenges
a) Wildlife Act of Tanzania which established the WMAs need amendments especially in the area of punishment of persons found by court to be guilty of poaching. The penalties are very minimal which do not make them fear.
b) Animal Poachers is another big challenge that pose problem to JUKUMU WMA. The Poachers uses different methods to get elephants and other animals to kill. The kill elephants for their tusks / ivory and other animals for meat or skin.
c) The legal system treats cases from Poaching as “economy sabotage” and those who are found guilty from Poaching are either imprisoned for 3 years or less. In most cases the sentences have an alternative of Fines. The fines are around $20 USD, which for sure is not much for a Poacher.
SOME OF LOCAL MADE TOOLS USED TO HUNT ELEPHANTS INCLUDING A MOTORCYCLE HORN MODIFIED TO MAKE CERTAIN NOISE. ELEPHANTS COME CLOSER TO THE NOISE AND GET EASILY KILLED BY POACHERS.
d) JUKUMU WMA covers an area of 750 KM SQ which is a large area. They do not have any vehicles nor motorcycles to patrol the area. It becomes hard as the Poachers uses vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles. Rangers from JUKUMU WMA usually walk around the area to patrol which is ineffective.
e) The WMA needs to have modern means of Communication such as Radio Calls, GPRS, Radars and others to help the Rangers tracking animals as well as the Poachers.
f) There is a very serious problem of the Investors who are supposed to invest in the area and bring benefit to the society as well as helping the WMA to protect animals. Most of these investors seek financial gains and thus make it hard to meet the demands of the WMA and the environment as a whole. For example, the road to the animal reserve is totally neglected while it is the responsibility of the investor to maintain all roads to the animals reserve.
g) Poachers are very aggressive and sometimes to the extent of fighting or exchanging fire with the Rangers. One of the JUKUMU WMA Rangers was shot on the chest and is still in hospital since May 2013. His condition is not so good.
SOME OF POACHERS’ BICYCLES CAUGHT ONLY TWO WEEKS AGO BY RANGERS OF JUKUMU WMA:
h) Lack or poor coordination of the efforts done by the WMAs and those by the government. If these efforts were organized and well coordinated , the JUKUMU WMA leaders believes poaching could be better controlled.
Heading Back to Base to Write Up the Day’s Report
We came back to our base for washing up, writing up the day’s report and dinner. All members were happy and felt they were doing something worthwhile in their lives. They were aware that this was not a “tourism” trip but rather an activists’ field tour aiming to learn, discover, observe and suggest ideas that will help the efforts to protect elephants go better.
All lights were off by 10:00 PM and we slept ready to face up tomorrow. Two objectives are on the table for tomorrow: One is Research on “ WMAs : Functions , Achievements and Setbacks ” and two is to tour the JUKUMU WMA game reserve, called in Kiswahili language ‘’ HIFADHI’’ simply meaning “RESERVE!!”
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 – Sega Girls Interview Villagers!
After breakfast and prayers we left to DUTUMU village carrying our prepared Questionnaires ready for research. We left at Mvuha village at 8:00 AM and travelled to 40 KM next village of Dutumi.
SEGA CLUB PLANNING HOW TO APPROACH VILLAGERS OF DUTUMI VILLAGE TO AND ASK THEM QUESTIONS TO GET DATA. SEEN AT THE VILLAGE MARKET ARE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT CLOCKWISE ARE: EUGENIA, DINA, MARIA, REHEMA, MERENCIANA AND SUBIRA.
We reached at Dutumi at about 9:45 AM and the club members went around in groups to collect data for their research. Some of them had to go to the market and water wells to get opportunity to ask the Questionnaires.
People were positive but most of them could not read nor write so the girls had to read the Questionnaires and write up the responses from the people. The people were good except for few of them who did not want to cooperate with the girls. Results of the Research will be given after the steps of Summarizing, Analyzing and Writing the report itself are done.
Most people had to be first explained what the club is standing for before agreeing to take part in the research. It was not very easy to explain why should the students especially girls will involve in such hard “ thing ” like anti ivory. After the explanations it was very interesting to see how much the society is eager to know more and more about elephants.
So the girls shared issues of poaching, the figures elephants killed, where are elephants killed, who buys ivory and uses. They shared knowledge about elephants such as its weight, behavior, food intake, maternity and others.
Soon the villagers trusted and became so helpful to us all. They trusted the girls as partners in anti ivory activities. The girls learned that although these people live close to elephants and that their lives are directly touched by elephants, they have little or no information about elephants.
Muddy Roads Prevent Girls From Reaching WMA Reserve
We left Dutumi at 12:10 PM to Mbwade village where the Animal Reserve is located. It is only about 3o KM long from Dutumi to Mbwade. Roads are in bad shape and passing was difficult from the first kilometers. We passed around 5 villages before our bus broke about 13 KM from Dutumi which cost us 2 hours of slowly driving.
SEGA SCHOOL ANTI IVORY CLUB WAITING FOR THE BUS TO BE REPAIRED NEAR THE BUFFER ZONE. THE SUN WAS HOT AND THEY HAD TRAVELED ONLY 18 KM IN THE LAST 3 HOURS AND 40 MINUTES!!. GUESS WHAT OUR SPEED WAS??.
We had to let the driver and his assistant repair the bus before starting again for 40 minutes. We entered the “BUFFER ZONE ” between the Mbwade village and JUKUMU WMA ANIMAL RESERVE. The road from there was not at all “ road ” for a bus to use. It was a “path” which can be used by a 4 wheel drive car. The weight of our bus itself was a threat as the mud could easily make it “sink”.
To travel 18 KM from Dutumi we spent almost 3 hours. We could not complete the 9 KM left from there to the RESERVE and after a discussion with the JUKUMU administration, District Game Officer, Bus driver and the club members we came to make decision that we better go back to Mvuha.
We reached at Mvuha village at around 5:30 PM and all of us were dead tired from the long trip and hunger. Thanks to our cook who had the food and drinks ready!! We ate and had a lot of talking and arguments from the girls who had great experience of the day.
We rested for a while after bathing. Soon everybody was asleep!! We met again for late dinner about 9:00 PM where we discussed about tomorrow’s schedule of leaving back to school. The girls also had time to reflect what happened today and agreed that they will have to write to the JUKUMU WMA administration on the road to the reserve.
As we stipulated above, it is the duty of the Investor to maintain the roads and other infrastructures of the whole WMA area. The Investor has to make sure the roads are passable all through the year and that this responsibility is an important one as it allows people to be able to reach the reserve.
It is imperative that the administration of JUKUMU WMA to stress this point to the Investor and follow up whether he does his duty or no.
Sunday, October 20, 2013 – The Return Journey to SEGA
We left Mvuha village at 9:00 AM and reached SEGA at 01:45 PM. All girls were sound and safe.
WORD OF THANKS:
Members of the SEGA SCHOOL ANTI IVORY CLUB wish to thank all those who in one way or another facilitated this trip. We believe that with combined efforts we can put a stop to poaching and save elephants’ lives .
Thank you so much.