Locals raise alarm over wildlife threat

James Mwangi, a resident of Jogoo area in Kamara ward, Nakuru County shows the destruction caused by elephants on his farm. The residents have decried increased cases of human-elephant conflict in the area. [Harun Wathari, Standard
Residents of Jogoo in Kamara Ward, Nakuru County, have decried rising cases of property damage caused by elephants. 

The residents claimed the elephants from the neighbouring Koibatek forest have been terrorising them for the past eight months.

They said the elephants have been destroying their crops and houses, forcing a number of residents to relocate to rental houses in market centres.

“We are no longer sleeping at night because of the rogue elephants roaming around at night. They break stores to eat maize and potatoes,” said Beatrice Waithera, a resident.

John Thuku, another resident, said he moved to a rental house at a nearby market centre after he got fed up with frequent attacks.

“It was becoming too much and I just had to move out. I did not want to risk my life anymore,” Mr Thuku said.

Desperate measures

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James Mwangi, a Nyumba Kumi elder, said measures by locals to keep the elephants at bay have not borne any fruit.

“We have tried everything even involving the Kenya Wildlife Service. The challenge is that when they scare the elephants away, they come back the following day,” Mr Mwangi said.

According to Baringo County KWS deputy warden Peter Lekeren, cases of human-wildlife conflicts in the area are common as elephants migrate from Laikipia to Koibatek forest.

He said the conflicts are experienced in former corridors that have been settled on and cases are rampant, especially between April and June.

The residents said despite the huge losses they have incurred, they have never been compensated.

Their concerns come barely a month after the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife launched a report on human-wildlife conflict compensation for 2014 and 2017.  About 13,125 human-wildlife compensation claims were registered during the period.

The government has released Sh569 million in 2019-2020 for such compensation. 

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Kamara WardNakuru CountyHuman-wildlife conflict