Sunday, January 14, 2018

7 elephants killed as human-wildlife conflict rages

 

Seven elephants have been killed in Kajiado as the human-wildlife conflict in the county worsens.

The jumbos were killed in Porka Village, Kenyewa ward in Kajiado East Constituency on Friday evening.

On Saturday, Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku accused the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) of fuelling the conflict by continuously harassing herdsmen.

Addressing journalists at Baobab Beach Resort and Spa in Kwale County, the governor claimed that KWS has refused to share the five per cent revenue from wildlife with the Maasai community.

"We are aware that there is a law that governs human-wildlife conflict and our people have not benefited yet so we are calling upon KWS to come to the table and address the issue immediately before things go out of hand," Mr Lenku said.

 

37 people dead

The governor also said that the human-wildlife conflict has claimed 37 lives of residents living around the park in the recent past, saying this can no longer be tolerated.

"We want to reiterate our commitment and cooperation for living in harmony with the wildlife and we the Maasai are the greatest friends of wildlife particularly but it is sad to say that the good gesture shown by the community towards the wildlife is being abused by KWS," he said.

He said the failure by KWS to compensate the community for their livestock killed and crops destroyed has led to the killing of seven elephants on Friday evening and called on the government through KWS to intervene.

However, he did not give more details of the killing of the jumbos.

Demand for compensation

 

"We want to demand that our livestock killed by wildlife, crops destroyed and people killed by the wildlife be compensated," he said, adding that it is not too much they are asking for but they are sticking with the law.

 

The governor demanded the immediate release of five per cent revenue from wildlife to the community as stipulated in the law.

 

KWS, he said, "must rise to the occasion and support the community by protecting the community from harm”.

 

"When the community’s patience, friendliness and hospitality is stretched to the limit, then the community is forced to react," Mr Lenku, a former Interior Cabinet secretary, said.

The governor was accompanied by his deputy, Martin Moshisho, and Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito and other leaders.

The killing of the elephants is a big blow to conservation of wildlife.

Elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals, carrying their young for nearly two years before giving birth.

Long developmental periods are common among highly intelligent animals. (NMG)

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