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Communities hosting parks need help

By The Standard | Published Fri, September 1st 2017 at 00:00, Updated August 31st 2017 at 21:40 GMT +3
Maize farm flattened by elephants in Omusati (Photo Courtesy)

SUMMARY

  • A cackle of hyenas has killed 50 goats near Meru National Park
  • A herd of elephants has been invading people's farmers near Meru National Park

Reports that a cackle of hyenas has killed some 50 goats and a herd of elephants has been invading people's farmers near Meru National Park must be disheartening.

It is the hope of every farmer to have their crops or livestock maturing and giving a return. When that is cut short by avoidable factors such as human-wildlife conflict, it is tantamount to tying the farmers' hands.

ALSO READ: Uhuru Kenyatta takes break with elephants (Photos)

And with every cry of lost crops or livestock to wild animals, every Kenyan should worry about tomorrow's source of food. It should prick everyone's conscience, and the authorities should take more responsibility.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has several times pledged to protect wildlife from poachers and other intruders. They have also promised to keep wild animals away from human beings and their farms.

It is therefore unacceptable that there are reports of wild animals destroying crops and domestic animals, and sometimes maiming and killing people.

The KWS manages all national parks and game reserves in the country and must up their game. In the larger picture, the national government and policy makers must constantly review utilisation of land where human populations continue to put pressure on wildlife habitat.

Stakeholders at the local level should also be actively involved in the management of parks. A community that hosts a national park or game reserve should be proud of its heritage, which can only be achieved if no damage is done to their property.

The community should also benefit from improved infrastructure such as tarmac roads, telecommunications, schools and hospitals directly linked to the national park. They should be proud of the parks, not rue their presence.


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