Herders invade Hell's Gate Park as drought worsens

Already, tens of wild animals have fled various ranches and game parks in the lakeside town, leading to an increase in human-wildlife conflict cases.

Naivasha sub-county commissioner Mutua Kisilu said the drought had pushed the herders to the park and the riparian land around Lake Naivasha.

He said that security officers were addressing the issue to stop cases of conflict between them and residents who were also feeling the full effects of the drought.

"In the last couple of weeks, we have seen an increase in the number of herders seeking pastures in Hellsgate and the riparian area, and we are addressing the situation," he said.

Kisilu added that the drought situation had also affected Form One intake in the vast constituency, with many parents unable to raise school fees.

Education crisis

The commissioner noted that the constituency had recorded total crop failure leading to the current food, security and education crisis.

"The number of students seeking bursary in the town is on the rise with the ongoing drought playing a huge part even as more families continue to sleep hungry," he said.

The chairman Lake Naivasha Water Resource Users Association (LANAWRUA) Enock Kiminta noted that the invasion by the pastoralists on the riparian posed a major threat to the lake.

Kiminta said the destruction of the buffer zone and the sharp drop in water levels posed a threat to the fisheries and floriculture sector.

"The riparian land has been adversely affected by human activity, including farming and pastoralists, and all waste will be easily washed into the lake when it starts raining," he said.

He noted that currently, River Malewa was the only one flowing into the lake as Rivers Gilgil and Karati had dried up due to the harsh weather conditions.

"Lake Naivasha relies heavily on water from River Malewa, and currently, the levels are low due to low rainfall and abstraction by farmers upstream," he said.