Politics and policy

Elders threaten to kill stray wild animals

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By PONCIANO ODONGO

Posted  Tuesday, April 2  2013 at  21:12

Maasai elders in Kajiado County have asked Kenya Wildlife Service to confine wild animals to their habitat failure to which the community will kill them.

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The elders from Merueshi and Elkelunyeti in Mashuru District reached the decision after a meeting with KWS officials, residents and politicians in the county.

“KWS should confine their animals be it giraffe, zebra or elephant. The lions kill our livestock as the grazers compete for pasture with our livestock,” said Jonathan Lesiyio.

The meeting was convened by the elders to seek solutions to the escalating human-wildlife conflict around the Chyulu Hills National park. The elders said this year alone six people had been badly injured by the wild animals and four killed by lions after vicious attacks.

The meeting comes a week after KWS wardens arrested 12 maasai morans in Oldonyo Sampu last week over the killing of a lion after it invaded a home and killed three cows. The Voi Court released the suspects on a Sh5,000 bond each after they were held in custody for three days.

Jacob Letoire, an elder, said KWS was least concerned with the plight of residents despite hyenas, leopards and lions being the major threat to livestock production. Other problems the locals cited were destruction of crops and boreholes by elephants.

A Bill that would allow better compensation for farmers for damages to livestock and crops by wild animals has been pending in Parliament due to what many perceive as lobbying by private animal conservancies.

KWS officer in charge Conservation Education in Amboseli National Park Abi Lelei said compensation for damages caused by wild animals was removed from the KWS mandate in 1987.

Last June, residents of Ilkeek-Lemedungi in the county killed six lions, which they said had been attacking their livestock and people.