By Paul Wafula and Michael Saitoti
Samburu, Kenya: A leopard attacked and injured at least 13 people on Monday evening in Samburu County.
The two-hour attack in Kalama, near Isiolo town, was foiled after 6pm when officials from the wildlife department hunted down and killed the cat.
Most of the victims were Monday nursing their injuries at Archers Post Mission Hospital, with at least two referred to the nearby Wamba Mission Hospital for specialised treatment.
Samburu County Senior Warden Dominic Wamboa said no one was killed during the attack. The warden described the attack as strange. The leopard is believed to have broken away from the Kalama Conservancy.
“Most of the injuries are on the head and arms. We eliminated the animal but this is one of the strangest attacks we have seen. Usually, a leopard will attack one person and then it runs away to hide,” Mr Wamboa told The Standard on the phone.
The wildlife official said authorities want to establish whether the leopard was suffering from rabies in an effort to explain the attack.
Rabies is a deadly viral infection that is spread mainly by infected animals through the saliva. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any mammal can get rabies.
Samburu County has 17 community wildlife conservancies through which the authorities have been fostering mutual relationships. But this latest attack could reignite the bad blood between residents and the conservancies.
The county is home to the Samburu National Reserve, which is one of the largest tourist attraction sites in Northern Kenya.
The attack comes at a time when human-wildlife conflicts have been on the rise.
This conflict is common in areas bordering parks, especially during the rainy season, when the migration of herbivorous animals leaves carnivores without adequate food.
In late 2012, six lions were speared to death in Kajiado County by residents after the predators invaded villages and killed goats.
In the same year, a pack of hyenas attacked a sleeping family in Wajir County, killing two children and injuring six other relatives.
Five of the six family members injured in the July 10 attack were treated at Habaswein District Hospital.