Outcry as human wildlife conflict escalates

Farm destroyed by elephants at AIC, Emaue in Kajiado Central. Photo File

By Our Reporter

Farmers in Kajiado Central Sub-County are up in arms over the massive destruction of crops by a herd of roaming elephants.

The jumbos have in the last two weeks rampaged villages like Maili Tisa and Koitiko in the area that is known for agribusiness destroying crops worth millions to the chagrin of farmers.

Hundreds of acres of maize, cabbage, melon, a variety of fruits, and other farm produce have been destroyed.

They have also destroyed several communal and private water projects as they caused panic among residents prompting locals to stage a peaceful protest in the area.

More than 10 of the giant animals are commonly spotted during the day roaming within residential areas risking lives.

One of the farmers Moses Rianto said he lost more than Sh1 million of the crop on his two-acre piece of land in the last two weeks despite continuous alerts to Kenya Wildlife Services(KWS) officers to intervene.

“Covid 19 pandemic pushed me from town to the village to start agri-business and earn my daily bread but the elephants have now destroyed the crops before I began harvesting,” said a dejected Rianto.

He said they have always co-existed with the wild animals but it is becoming untenable

Dozens of farmers are now seeking compensation from KWS citing laxity in protecting them and their properties to minimize the escalating human-wildlife conflict in Kajiado county.

They are urging KWS to relocate the animals to public game reserves lest they reiterate by attacking and killing the animals.

In June 2019, three people were killed by marauding elephants in Mashuru Sub County and in May 2020 KWS was forced to sedate and relocate three male Jumbos using trucks that had strayed into Kitengela residential areas.

The KWS Assistant Director Kenana Lekishon blames human settlement blockage on wildlife migratory routes that prompt wildlife to stray to residential areas.

According to a KWS source, 23 people have so far been killed by wildlife in Kajiado since 2012. More than134 people have suffered from serious and life-changing injuries while more than 1,000 livestock have been killed, properties worth over Sh 200million destroyed.

The KWS officer in charge of Kajiado County was not available for a comment.

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