Conservancies raise alarm over armed invaders

Laikipia Conservancies Association chairman Kip ole Polos addressing the media at Lokusero village in Laikipia North. [Photo/Courtesy]

Conservancies and hoteliers in Laikipia County have raised concern over rising insecurity threatening the tourism industry.

Laikipia Conservancies Association (LCA) chairperson Kip ole Polos urged the government and local communities to stop armed rustlers' invasion into wildlife conservancies.

He spoke during a peace meeting in Laikipia North.

“Invasion is especially rampant on the eastern side of Mukogodo Forest. We are calling on security agencies to act fast,” Polos said.

He mentioned Lekuruki and Il Ng’wesi community conservancies as the most affected.

Polo added that the invasions into the community and private conservancies also threaten security, education, and conservation efforts undertaken over the years.

“Conservation is important to pastoralist communities in Laikipia and if that was compromised then it would be difficult in the future.

"The tourism industry was starting to pick from the slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but now we are staring at a possible shutdown due to the rampant invasions,” he added.

The Tassia game lodge in Laikipia North has closed down following invasions by armed pastoralists from the neighbouring counties.

Laikipia wildlife conservancies contribute about Sh2 billion to the economy every year. The sector also protects biodiversity while sustaining communities through employment. “If the invasions go unchecked, we risk destroying the multibillion-shilling tourism industry.”

Polos said the dry weather in Isiolo and Samburu where most of the invaders are from has worsened the situation in Laikipia.