Pastoralists and farmers who encroach and graze their domesticated animals in conservancies will not be compensated in the event of attacks by wild animals, a Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) official has warned.
But local residents say most attacks and killings or domestic animals occur in human settlement when wildlife strays from sanctuaries. They accuse KWS of ignoring this matter and concentrating on alleged encroachment by herders on sanctuaries.
Speaking in Lamu on Sunday, the Lamu County Conservation and Compensation Committee chairman, Mr Ali Shebwana from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) stated that there have been media reports of hyena attacks in Matondoni, and Kipungani areas on domestic animals.
In recent weeks, according to the Lamu Donkey sanctuary veterinary Dr Felix Ondiek Rachuonyo, five donkeys have been seriously injured in wildlife attacks. Most of culprits are hyenas. Since last year so far 37 donkeys have died while they have treated 70 cases.
On Sunday the KWS official said that the national government is unlikely to compensate individuals whose animals have been killed in the hyena attacks because most of those animals were being kept in mangrove areas.
“The residents who have lost their animals know better than to cry over their losses demanding compensation when the law is clear that no one should trespass on conservancy areas, where most of these attacks have been happening,” Shebwana said.
He further revealed that no one has yet come forward demanding compensation despite numerous reports that local leaders are demanding that KWS compensates the herders and farmers who have lost their animals.
Most of the hyena attacks have been taking place on conservancy land according to the KWS records. “Unless the animals were killed in one’s own compound there will be no compensation for the donkeys that have turned up dead in Lamu West and Lamu East areas,” he said.
The KWS position is likely to draw the ire of local leaders especially Mkomani Ward representative Yahya Ahmed who has decried the rising hyena attacks in Lamu Island.
Ahmed said that the farmers have been left on their own, with no protection being provided by the KWS.
However, KWS has maintained that the farmers are free to kill the hyenas if they are found to have trespassed on one’s property.
Ondiek also stated that farmers need to take better care of their animals rather than leaving them in mangrove areas unattended.
Meanwhile aggrieved animal owners are accusing KWS of not taking any action even if they (owners) report of wild animals harming their animals.
According to Ali Mohamed from Siyu, he woke up and found his cow with a fresh wound, he followed the blood drops that led him to a hide out where the hyena is suspected to be hiding, he found a piece of fresh meat, concluding that the piece was the fresh wound his cow had.
Ali said that after informing the KWS on the issue, the relevant officer said that he would contact him, where up to now no communication.
Ali said that in a week more than 10 animals mostly cows are normally attacked by the wild animal.
"In Siyu we are tired of reporting wild animal invasion in our homes, injuring our animals we are losing cows to the animal since no action is being taken on it, the hyena is causing losses to us as cows are our source of livelihood” said Ali.
Another cry was from Amu Island where donkeys continue to suffer injuries from a hyena that has caused death to many, leaving others with injuries.
The affected areas where animals are either killed or attacked is Matondoni, Kipungani and the Island.
Athman Omar a donkey owner said that so far he has lost 3 donkeys to injuries, saying that they are his source of income, only 2 are left.
The owners are now demanding compensation from the Kenya wildlife service citing that they have lost their source of living.
Donkey is the beast of burden used to transport building materials, also transport people being the source of income.
Doctor Felix Rachuonyo manager Lamu donkey sanctuary said that they are treating one donkey. On Sunday one died.