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Monday, 8 April 2013

Wildlife invasion takes toll of Laikipia and Baringo Counties


By Beatrice Nyambura
Rampant cases of human-wildlife conflict have been witnessed lately in many parts of Laikipia and Baringo Counties. Many of the affected areas include Wangwaci, Naibrom, Kiriko, Kaptuiya among others. 

Elephants are one of the animals that have left farmers pointing fingers at because of their incessant invasion to farms. Food crops such as maize, beans, sorghum among others have been left at the mercy of these herbivores. Despite farmers practicing irrigation in the semi-arid counties, their source of living has been endangered over time by these animals. They are no longer ready to condone it and are now up in arms. 

That elephants and buffaloes eat everything living a bare land is what residents have had to come to terms with, albeit with bitterness. Chasing them away from farms whenever they invade is another nightmare. It is now very common to hear sounds of drums, bells and jingles in the evening when farmers are attempting to drive them back to their place of abode.

Farmers sacrifice their night in the farms guarding their crops for fear that they may not harvest after working very hard for them. They have secured bright torches to light well during the night. They have been using also fires as an instrument to scare away these animals. These methods are simple but dangerous for the farmers as often times animals become enraged and charge at them, especially when they are directed with bright light.

Each year residents of these areas count losses incurred from these animals. Food security has been endangered resulting to increase in crime rate. Barns and houses are also prone to these destructions as the elephants bring down such buildings and eat up whatever in the store. People do also die in such incidences whenever they invade without knowledge while deeply asleep in the house. Indeed, life has been complicate for residents of these counties. 

Approaches have been made to the Kenya Wild Life Service (KWS) to manage these animals and prevent them from destroying farm produce. It is amazing that responsible authorities have turned deaf ears to the incessant pleas made by the local community. Worst can only be mentioned on the part of the rich ranchers who never enjoy the confidence of the residents. Bad blood exists between the two groups and hinders any progress towards solving human-wildlife conflict.
Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV) is asking stakeholders to make necessary intervention to resolve this long standoff in Laikipia and Baringo counties. No meaningful development can be achieved without having concrete solution on this matter.
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