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Alarm as three giraffes are electrocuted at a Nakuru conservancy

KENYA
By Carolyne Chebet | February 21st 2021

Three Rothschild giraffes have died after being electrocuted by a powerline at Sosambu conservancy in Nakuru.

The giraffes were electrocuted while moving along a low-hanging local power transmission line within the vast conservancy.

The incident has raised an uproar among conservationists who noted that since 2019, close to 11 endangered Rothschild have been killed in the same manner.

In the recent incident, two giraffes were reportedly electrocuted on Friday and one on Saturday.

“Now a total 11 giraffes have been killed on these lines. There had been an attempt some time back to have the line moved or lifted but there was no support of the idea," said conservationist Kerry Outram.

Soysambu conservancy is one of the few sanctuaries alongside Lake Nakuru National Park and Ruko conservancy that hosts rare giraffes whose populations have been on the decline.

The International Union of Conservation and Nature (IUCN) states that Rothschild giraffes exist only in hot woodland savanna and shrub lands of Kenya and Uganda.

It is estimated that 670 Rothschild giraffes still exist and Kenya is hosting 60 per cent of the population while Uganda hosts the other 40 per cent.

According to a source from the Kenya Wildlife Service, the incident of giraffe electrocution within the conservancy is among several that have been reported over the years.

"It is an issue of concern that has been raised severally. KWS, however, does not have jurisdiction over powerlines but unfortunately, Kenya Power is yet to work on the issue," the source told the Standard.

Kenya Power and Lightning Company said it regrets the incident and that it would work on modifications within the affected area.

"This is highly regretted. We have isolated the affected portion to avoid a recurrence. We will do necessary modification to assure safety of animals in the days to come," said Henry Pwani, the Engineer Nakuru County Business Manager.

The current incident happened just weeks after another that involved the electrocution of more than 50 flamingos in Soysambu by an old electricity line from Olkaria to Suswa.

The incident involving flamingos happened near Lake Elmenteita, representing a case of international concern.

The stretch of Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu power line running close to Lake Elementaita on the southern edge operated by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) has also been marked as an emerging death trap for birds using the site as a habitat or a migratory corridor.

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