My presence in the field during the past month puts me in a position to to state in confidence that an operational birding/monitoring group is now in place in Bunyala. However, it is not just enough that there is now an actively monitoring team of recruits on site. It is paramount that the group is efficient and effective. This will ensure the problem of poisoning is eradicated or in the least, it is suppressed to its all-time low alongside collecting of sensible data. I stand as the trainer and assessor of the team though sooner or later the team shall have to stand judgement by others when they qualify as effective scouts and guides which is the coveted success of this project. We have now commenced on our second month of vigilant scouting, thanks to our donors who already raised the amount for the scouts’ wages. Thanks to you and we still ask you to keep supporting us.
This second month will be an assessment and tougher training month for the scouts so that they can attain a level of independence. I will be away in the near future (during which time I will inform you here on the blog) for a week during which time I will only interact with my team via daily telephone correspondence after which I will then return in the field to resume and evaluate the reliability of the gathered information. I will expect accurate information since the crucial aspects of this project have been emphasized during the entire month of September; these are proper bird identification and prospecting poisoning or poaching via the 4 main dynamic aspects (the fifth of which is trapping) that I mentioned in the post on the Evolution of the Vigilance Strategy. I assess the members in identification on a daily basis using similar species, most of which are migrants and these are the majority on site at the moment.
Similar palaearctic migrants at Bunyala: Green Sandpiper & Common Sandpiper
During my absence, the scouts will therefore give me a feedback via short message texting on the observed species (initials of their common names and the number seen) utilizing the range being monitored and poisoning cases and species poisoned if any and the interjected intended poisoning cases and names of the poachers (since we now know these).
During September, our monitoring skills most of which I already shared in earlier posts were pitted against poacher shrewdness and obstinacy with scout recruiting exercises grossly impeded by bent cultural values and vices. Nonetheless a level of successful perception change was attained given that the intended team of 10 scouts was successfully formed and more may join if we are able to raise more funds to support these additional individuals. Overall I believe we have learnt our lessons and are better scouts this month.
In summary, we have started this month with 2 additional palaearctic migrants on our list of migrants, the Yellow Wagtail and the Black-winged Stilts. These have been targeted for poisoning in the past. There however have been no poisoning incidents encountered so far, this month. Last month we only had 2 cases of poisoning, 1 case of trapping and 2 cases (one of these during last week) of interjected poisoning. The latter indicates that there is still the potential of poisoning poaching therefore we need to continue keeping on high alert. Our target is to record absolutely no poaching this month.
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