Photo: An elephants charging pedestrians in Samburu National Park.
A 14-year-old boy is recuperating at Marsabit Referral Hospital after he was attacked by an elephant. The boy was taken to hospital nursing injuries by his relatives and residents of Jaldessa, Saku Constituency after the Sunday attack.
The incident was confirmed by Marsabit Deputy Warden Paul Mwambi. Speaking to Radio Jangwani in his office, Wambi said on its part, the KWS has also explored available options to help curb the conflicts.
Wambi also discloses that they have set up a conflict crisis center in areas most affected for handling conflicts and matters of compensation.
“We’ve already launched a four-day operation in Jaldesa to search for the animals and return them to the park. We urge the residents to volunteer information whenever they come across the jumbos. They should report immediately.” He said.
“We established the centers so that residents can quickly report the incidents for quick resolve, besides we have already increased rangers for increased surveillance,” added Mwambi.
The case of human-wildlife conflict is not unique to Jaldesa and Badassa areas. Over the years, conflict between the animals and the residents has been the order of the day.
The areas have in the recent past witnessed increased number of human- wildlife conflicts that have had devastating effects.
The animals have wrecked havoc, destroying property essentially farm crops leaving a trail of despondency among farmers who already struggle enough to plant their crops under the county’s harsh climatic conditions.
The area borders Marsabit National Parks and human-wildlife conflicts especially rogue elephants are a common phenomenon.
Badassa bear the brunt of most wildlife invasions due to the areas’ proximity to the national parks while Jaldessa is also hot spots of similar attacks which Wambi attributes to an elephant leaving the park due to harsh drought condition. Wambi retaliated his office’s commitment in curbing the attacks and promoting a peaceful co-existence between the residents and the animals.
“This is a matter that the KWS is treating with a lot of seriousness and we shall put in place measures to stop the conflicts once and for all,” said Wambi.
The problem is further aggravated by lack of an electric fence along the Marsabit Park which makes it easy for the animals to freely move in and out of the park especially during dry seasons in search of pasture and water.
The conflict with humans only complicates the country’s nightmare of saving the highly treasured animals from poachers. Whereas, there are local and international efforts to save the elephants, Kenya is at the same time grappling with addressing human-wildlife conflict which poses a serious threat to the lives of people living near park areas and also the animals living in those areas.