Ganze residents decry terrorising elephants


Alphonce Gari, The Star

Date Published
Fear has gripped residents of Ganze subcounty in Kilifi county following increased cases of elephants terrorising villagers.

The elephants have disrupted day-to-day activities and even learning in schools as the wildlife at times invade institutions.

Residents and leaders are now calling on the Kenya Wildlife Service to move in fast and relocate the elephants.

It is believed that the elephants are trailing their longtime migratory routes from Tsavo to Arabuko Sokoke Forest along with the areas which have now become settlement areas for residents.

Government authorities however are blaming the residents for staying out until late, particularly those burning charcoal, which is affecting the relocation exercise by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire said the situation has become worse, making it difficult for parents and the public to go out and earn a living.

The legislator was speaking at Vitengeni Baptist Secondary School after officially opening a modern dormitory and laboratory.

He said learning has also been affected as students and teachers are forced to go to school late and leave early to avoid getting into contact with the rogue elephants.

“We expect as from next week there will be a series of meetings with the officials in charge of KWS, provincial administration, my office and residents to get a permanent solution,” he said.

Mwambire said a few days ago an airplane was dispatched for surveillance and established that the elephants are in areas where residents are also burning charcoal.

He further said if the elephants are forced out of the area they will go to the areas inhabited by people and cause harm.

The MP said their aim is to agree with the residents to move out for a period of two weeks until the relocation is complete.

Ganze deputy county commissioner Louis Rono said they held a meeting with chiefs and directed them to ensure people do not stay in the forest areas, something that has not happened.

Further, he said there are some youths who climb trees with stones and throw them at the elephants, putting their lives at risk, as elephants can easily knock down the trees and harm them.

Rono said they will be holding meetings in all the areas affected separately to ensure residents move out of the areas.

Ganze subcounty director of education Rashid Mjimba said the elephants have affected learning as the movement of people is limited.

He said children are affected by elephants in the morning and evening in Milore village, especially those attending Ambassador Kithi School.

“As we are talking there are elephants who are terrorising students at Bamba girls which neighbours Chapungu Secondary School,” the director said.

“I have just received a phone call that students were heading home but were cornered by the elephants and are running back to their homes.”

He called on the relevant authorities to take action quickly to ensure there is smooth learning in schools because terms have been reduced due to Covid-19.

Vitengeni Baptist Secondary School principal Cleophas Mdibo said elephants roamed into the school, forcing the students to come late.

“I instructed teachers to release them early to avoid being attacked by the elephants,” he said.