The lesser kudu is an ancient species of forest antelope found in East Africa, the most primitive of all spiral-horned antelope. They live in dry thorn bush and forest, and are one of the many protected inhabitants of our Rukinga Sanctuary, Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project. Kudus, which range between 90 to 110 kg, are quite nimble; they can jump distances of more than 30 feet! Despite their agile nature, these beautiful creatures are on the decline due to illegal poaching, and have been marked as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
While patrolling the sanctuary on Sept 24th, a team of Wildlife Works ranch hands located at Galawa Hill discovered footprints and became suspicious that poachers were within the vicinity. The tracks led them to a hill from which they could hear the sound of an animal crying hysterically in the distance, as though in great pain. Following the direction of the noise, they discovered a female lesser kudu lying helplessly on the ground after having been trapped by a poacher’s snare on its right foot.
They informed Eric, the head ranger, who immediately drove to the scene with two other rangers. Upon arriving, they discovered three other snares that had been placed nearby. They focused on the trapped kudu first, and teamwork called to free the animal. Two rangers held its forelimbs while the other two held its hind legs, and one of the rangers took considerable force to cut out the wire that was keeping the animal trapped.
Once the snare had been cut, the rangers lowered the kudu’s legs slowly and carefully. Although it had been released from the wire, the animal was initially unable to move, a possible result of either starvation or loss of blood circulation in its leg. One of the rangers gently hoisted the animal to its feet and placed it in the direction of a path that would be least strenuous on the kudu’s legs. With a little help, the kudu was eventually able to stand up on its own and, having recovered its strength, walked away gracefully and vanished into the bush.
Following the incident, Eric explained that the snares appeared to be fresh, and that the footprints leading to the scene were most likely those of a poacher coming to check for any captured animals. Luckily, the poacher seemed to have lost track of the location of the snares so that our team was able to reach the kudu first.
“Most local poachers who do not need huge animals like elephant or buffalo, use snare to trap small animals like dik-dik and this time around it was a lesser kudu which was luckily rescued from the snares which may have caused its death,” he explains.
We are always proud of our rangers for their teamwork and dedication to the freedom of animals, and are glad that this lesser kudu’s story ended happily!
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Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.
Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.
The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.