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Watering points to contain Tsavo elephants

Elephants at Tsavo West National Park in February 2022. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The government has promised to construct watering points within the Tsavo National Park to contain the human-wildlife conflict experienced in Magarini and Ganze sub-Counties in Kilifi County, Tourism CS Najib Balala has said.

The CS told The Standard the Tsavo had lost more than 70 elephants due to drought in the Tsavo East and West National parks, a situation that forced the jumbos to invade human settlements in search of water and pasture.

Mr Balala cautioned residents of areas neighbouring the parks against hunting dik-diks since their diminishing number was causing hyenas, leopards and lions to invade peoples’ homes in search of prey.

“You know there is drought in the Tsavo and more than 70 elephants have died as a result of drought and lack of water and we are going to dig water pans and small dams to help conserve our remaining herds. We shall also dig water pans and boreholes for pastoralists (Orma) in Tana River so that they desist from venturing into the parks to graze,” he said.

Residents of Chakama had complained to Mr Balala when he toured the Bombi area to distribute land title deeds, saying the elephants had caused a lot of destruction.

The elephants have been a problem to us in Chakama. We appeal to you to ensure they are driven back to the park because there is a lot of hunger around here and the little crops we have tried to grow have been destroyed by the elephants,” said Jefferson Guyo.

Kilifi County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka said he had received complaints of hyenas invading peoples’ homes and killing their livestock.

He, too, cautioned residents against the killing of dik-diks.

“The dik-dik population is reducing and this will cause insufficient prey for the hyenas and lions. This is the reason why they are invading our homes. So please stop killing the dik diks,” said Mr Olaka.

Mr Balala anyone caught hunting dik diks would be arrested and charged in courts of law.