Why there is human wildlife conflict in Nairobi

Nairobi city and its environ is on high alert after several lions have been spotted taking a ‘wild tour’ in the crowded Nairobi city and its environs. As human populations expand and natural habitats shrink, people and animals are increasingly coming into conflict over living space and food. The problem is universal, affects rich and poor, and is bad news for all concerned. Conflicts and controversies involving interactions between human beings, their communities, and the environment have become defining issues of our time.

Human wildlife conflict refers to the interaction between wild animals and people and the resultant negative impact on people or their resources, or wild animals or their habitat. It occurs when growing human populations overlap with established wildlife territory, creating reduction of resources or life to some people and or wild animals. The conflict takes many forms ranging from loss of life or injury to humans, and animals both wild and domesticated, to competition for scarce resources to loss and degradation of habitat. We need to look for ways to mitigate human wildlife conflict.

It’s unfortunate that animals are being pushed into constricted areas that don't have pasture or enough fountains and springs from which to quench their thirst. Human habitation is distorting and blocking migratory routes that animals have used for centuries, thus setting the stage for conflict. In times of drought, these animals come out to look for water and food and the havoc they wreak on crops occasions heavy losses to people.

We need to embrace the fact of life and look for plausible ways to mitigate human wildlife conflict. Continued growth in population and the resulting sprawl of people into previously unsettled land should force individuals, governments, and society as a whole to examine current and future priorities in regard to lifestyle and the natural world.

Dr. Njenga, Solomon Ph.D

School of Governance, Peace and Security

Africa Nazarene University, Kenya