Farmers agonize as wild animals decimate livestock

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers count sheep carcass at a farm in Uasin Gishu county. Wild animals are ravaging the region killing thousands of sheep. [Photos: Fred Kibor/Standard]

Farmers are counting losses following attacks on their livestock by wild animals.

The attacks, which mainly target sheep, are suspected to be the work of leopards, servals or wild dogs. In most cases the wild animals killed the sheep, sucked blood and left the carcasses.

On Monday night, and for the third time this year, the wild animals invaded Patrick Komen’s farm in Tugen, killing 75 sheep and wounding seven others. Mr Komen estimated his loss to be Sh830,000.

“This is a big loss because, in total, I have lost 108 prized Dorper sheep since the beginning of this year. I have been rendered poor because the livestock were my main source of income,” said the distraught farmer yesterday.

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On the fateful night, he narrated, he was woken up at around 2am by the bleating of sheep.

“When the bleats and groans became persistent, I was alarmed. I was shocked when I approached the sheep pen and saw an animal jumping over the fence. I counted 75 carcasses. More sheep had been injured.”

Esther Chemwolo from Katalel village said she was shocked to see her sheep lying dead in the morning.

“I was confronted by the smell of blood when I approached the entrance of the sheep pen at dawn. When I peeped through the gate, I was met by a horrific view of sprawled sheep carcasses,” said Ms Chemwolo.

Richard Kosgei, another farmer, said: “I lost more than 20 sheep in one instance and more farmers lost their sheep. The animals attack indiscriminately at night, suck blood and abandon the carcasses.”

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Mr Kosgei said the wild animals were causing anxiety in the entire region, adding that they feared losing their livelihoods since they relied on income from sale of livestock.

“The mysterious canines have been attacking sheep all over the villages and we do not know whether to sell all our stock before they are decimated by the marauding animal,” he noted.

Kosgei said the wild animals had not been traced despite the villagers’s effort to search nearby thickets and forests in an attempt to flush them out.

Kenya Wildlife Service warden John Ngalia said his officers had visited the affected farms and laid traps to nab the beasts.

“The farmers have filled compensation forms. It is a long process but they will be compensated,” he said.

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FarmersPatrick KomenTugenKatalel villageKenya Wildlife ServiceWild animals