Three feared dead after elephants invade Isiolo town, destroy prison farm

The elephants trekked for two hours along the key Nairobi - Isiolo- Moyale highway. [iStockphoto]

Three people are feared dead and an unknown number injured after six elephants invaded Isiolo town on Friday, March 3, 2023.

According to locals, the elephants stormed the town at around 7am from Shaba, Buffalo Springs and Samburu National Game Reserve, and marched for two hours along the key Nairobi - Isiolo- Moyale highway, causing a heavy traffic jam.

The highway is used mainly by transit goods vehicles destined for Ethiopia, Moyale and Mandera and is preferred by tourist vans and heavy-duty cargo hauliers involved in the construction of the Isiolo-Modogashe road.

Speaking to The Standard, Isiolo and Meru Wildlife Conservancy Assistant Director Issack Mugo said the elephants also raided Isiolo GK Prison’s farm and destroyed crops.

Mugo blamed the biting drought for the incident saying it had greatly affected wildlife and forced the animals to venture out of parks in search of pasture and water.

"I am aware some (of the elephants) entered the farm [belonging to Isiolo GK Prison]. When we got the report we sent our rangers, who managed to drive them away to the game park," said Mugo.

He added that KWS rangers were seized of the matter and assisting in driving the elephants back to their sanctuary and away from populated areas.

"We are financially constrained. All stakeholders must come together and give pasture and water to wild animals," said Mugo.

The incident comes months after the elephants trampled four people to death and destroyed perimeter walls that demarcate Isiolo Girls High School and Wabera Primary School.

Isiolo South MP Mohamed Tupi, a career warden, appealed for external help adding that hundreds of the rare grevy’s zebras, gerenuk and Somali ostrich (blue-necked ostrich) had died.

Meanwhile, in Kulamawe, Isiolo South Constituency, eight baboons plunged into the trading centre’s only water tank in an attempt to quench their thirst.

An old man was weeks ago also killed in the area by a hyena that had fled the reserve in search of water.