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Seek lasting solution to human, wildlife conflict

By The Standard | Published Fri, February 23rd 2018 at 08:46, Updated February 23rd 2018 at 08:49 GMT +3

With the relocation of 21 elephants from Solio Ranch in Nyeri County to the Tsavo National Park, one gets the impression man has triumphed over wild animals in the growing human- wildlife conflict.

In many other places across the country, drying rivers that run through natural animal sanctuaries are forcing conflicts between animals from the wild and human beings as the former venture out in search of food and water. The question is, how did we get here?

Man’s quest for more arable land and wanton destruction of forests is responsible for this conflict. As fast as forests recede, so do rivers dry.

Humanity has established settlements on migratory routes that wild animals have used for centuries. At some point, this was bound to result into loses for farmers as Elephants, especially, while on seasonal migration, strayed onto farmlands where crops were maturing. But as much as man has cried foul, he takes the blame.

The relocation of the elephants therefore solves a problem that will have farmers and the population that was threatened by the animals relax and do some productive farming. Conversely, it affects and disorientates the animals as they try to adopt to a new environment. Their survival cannot therefore be guaranteed.

While relocation is good, it will not always be the solution to similar problems elsewhere. Encroachment on game reserves and the destruction of forests should be checked in line with promises made by the new Cabinet Secretary for Environment.