By Our Reporter
Matayian Taiko, a resident of Masai Lodge area of Ongata Rongai, was on his balcony reading a newspaper when three monkeys appeared. He waved at them to scare at them away, but one monkey grabbed the newspaper from his chair and ran with it to a nearby tree before tearing the paper into pieces.
This incident occurred last month. And Mr Taiko is not alone. He is among a number of residents in Ongata Rongai area of Kajiado County who are complaining of the monkey menace.
A group of monkeys has been running amok in Ongata Rongai area for the past few weeks causing trouble at residential homes. The notorious monkeys break into houses, stealing food from refrigerators, taking clothes off drying lines, damaging television antennas, making loud noises and destroying property.
Area residents are now afraid to leave the windows of their homes open or let their children walk unescorted to school out of fear of what monkeys might do.
Mr Taiko says he has considered shifting to another place to avoid the monkey trouble. “In this side of Ongata Rongai monkeys are known for breaking into house windows to steal food and destroy items. Masai Lodge area is located near Nairobi National Park. Many property owners have invested in the area and modern residential buildings are now being erected.
“I came to this place two years ago because I loved the quiet atmosphere, but the monkeys are now a big menace here. We have tried to contact the Kenya Wildlife Service but they are not helping us,” claimed Esther Njoki another resident.
Monkeys are said to like urban areas because they have easy access to shelter, large trees, abundant food and water. In Ongata Rongai they have little fear towards humans.
“When I got to my place one afternoon I saw two monkeys near my kitchen window. They started jumping and making loud thuds. I tried to shout at them to chase them away, but to no avail instead they were showing teeth in anger. It’s disturbing,” says Janet Nyamwaro a mother of two.
After doing the damage the monkeys made a safe exit. “I contacted KWS they said they will come to help, but they never came. I am disappointed KWS cannot even protect us from monkeys,” she lamented, adding that the monkeys tore to shreds all the clothes which were hanging on the cloth line.
Mr Philip Manyara, Rongai Ward Admnistator said the County Government is taking the mnkey menace seriously.
“Not all parts of Rongai are affected. But we have received several complaints from the residents who live near Masai Lodge area. We are talking to KWS to see how these monkeys can be tamed. Its not good for property owners since the tenants may vacate some buildings which are
being invaded by monkeys.”
Wildlife researchers blame human forestry for aggressive monkey behavior. They say forests that cover many areas are devoid of food.
In most Rongai residential buildings located near the forest, monkeys are now as common as squirrels. They hang beside roads and trees.
When they see no one is giving them food, the monkeys start entering houses, open refrigerators and take away food,” observed Alex Mwangi, a wildlife researcher and lecturer.