It was at 3.AM today morning when I was awakened by my phone alarm, it was only four hours since I had slept and I was still feeling very sleepy. We usually sleep late because we always do routine patrol everyday from 7.PM to 10.PM and early morning from 3.AM to 6.AM in order to curb the fence vandalism which happens mostly during the night.
The fence powers are sourced from the main gate and the Bomas rangers camp, with each power source having two stafix B18 energizers each powering upto 180km of wire. Every part of each gate gets power separately from single energizer connected to the fence eight live wires through an under gate cabl. Alarm monitors which gives immediate signal incase a short circuit occurs or when a wire is cut are also connected to the system. A continuous signal generated by the alarm monitor meant that there was a short circuit or a wire was being interfered with. The signal went after switching the monitor off and on. In that process, live wire got into contact with earth wires. Those are the alarms we used to respond to when everything was operational.
We could know the direction of where the problem of the fence was and could even anticipate the cause . We monitored from the fence from the gate and could tell when the intruders get into the forest and the path that they used. For sometime now the fence system has not been functioning as effectively as before and the alarm monitors ceased to respond correctly. Infact, when someone switches it on, the alarm goes on even when we have cleared the shorts on th fence. The batteries have outlived their span and the fence power is no longer sustainable. For us to maintain the fence, the six rangers of the sanctuary including myself have to take patrols everyday and lay ambush along the fence which is not really as effective as the power sytems.
This has brought about Avery big loss to the sanctuary by the sanctuary loosing a very significant part of the fence to the thugs. The dividing of the sanctuary into three parts as the southern by-pass went through it,together with the demand of scrap metal in the adjacent neighbourhood aggravated the situation as thugs country wide vandalize anything which has metal as part of it’s component. Even telcom and the Kenya power & Lighting company are having a similar problem as their wires and equipment are not spared either. So far we have been able to arrest some culprits and they have been arraigned in court. One of the culprits was recently sentenced to 15 months in prison.(photo 1016630). The fence has played a very big roll in protecting the forest from dumping of gabbage, land grabbing, forest encroachment and general forest degradation. Since the fence ceased being as effective it was, the case is now different because in some places where there is meant to be wire there is only the posts left. I see that there is an urgent need to rescue the remaining fence. As the Trustees look for funds to replace the the stolen part, you can also be part of rescuing the fence by participating in this noble cause by donating to enable the replacement of the four batteries and repairing the energizers and the alarm monitors. This will make it easier for us rangers to truck down and apprehend the culprits. As for the moment, we are exhausting all that we can to safeguard the remaining part of the fence because we believe it has played a great role in securing the forest. This and involving the communities sorrounding the forest has worked before and should not be abandoned as currently the government is implementing the same trend. Help us save the forest because it is one of the cities carbon sink.
Rangers laying ambush during the night.