Tracking device to curb cattle theft launched

By Nick Oluoch

Migori County

A programme seeking to end the age-old dispute over cattle theft along the Kenya-Tanzania border area of Sirare has been launched.

Under the programme introduced by the Government, all livestock within the area will, for the first time, be fitted with an electronic tracking system.

The pilot programme launched over the weekend will see the device used to trace animals in six locations. These include Wangirabose, Nyabasi North, Kurumangicha and Siabai in Kuria East District, and Gokeharaka and Bukira West in Kuria West District, which are known hot spots for cattle rustling and small-scale animal thefts.

And yesterday, it was all systems go as more than 1,400 cattle were placed under the programme to help contain the ever-increasing animal theft that has triggered tribal animosities among communities living in the region for years.

A team of animal technicians led by the coordinator of the Kenya Association of Livestock Technicians, Nyanza chapter, Charles Nyaanga launched the massive campaign in Kurumangicha location in Kuria East District to urge framers to put their animals under the new livestock theft-free system.

Electronic gadget

Speaking during the launch, Mr Nyaanga said all the animals in the six pilot areas would be fitted with an electronic gadget called BOLUS. The gadget is inserted in the animal’s reticulum to make it easy to track the stolen animal in a radius of 15 kilometres.

He said every farmer is required to give his or her animal a name which is recorded in the BOLUS together with the animal’s colour, age, sex and the owner’s name, identity card number and his home area.

"The gadget has 16 digits representin the country code, county, location, the farmer’s details and the animal population in the area," he said, adding that once stolen, a reader will detect the 16 digits gadget and send signals to the system’s central nerve in Kabete, Nairobi, and the animal’s location will be known immediately.