An elephant was killed by unknown people and its tusks removed in the Lower Imenti Forest Reserves in Meru County.
Speaking to the Nation in his office on Wednesday, Kenya Wildlife Services Meru station deputy warden Jimnah Partet said they discovered the elephant’s carcass on Monday in the forest near Kithoka sub-location.
“We found the carcass but the tusks had been chopped off,” he said.
Investigations are underway to establish the motive of the killing, he said.
DAMAGE TO CROPS
He said locals might have maimed the elephant in retaliation due to the continued damage by jumbos to crops and the loss of life.
“We are investigating the possibility of poaching or human-animal conflicts that could have led to the death of the jumbo.”
Mr Partet urged residents who might have information regarding the death of the elephant to report to authorities.
“We will treat the information with confidentiality and we will appreciate if we get some leads,” said the deputy warden.
Kithoka borders Lower Imenti Forest Reserves that has a high population of elephants that migrate from Mt Kenya during rainy seasons.
Last month, a former Kenya Defence Forces soldier, Clifford Mwenda, was attacked and killed by a marauding elephant in Kithoka village where human-animal conflict has intensified.
Mwenda was buried last Thursday.
The locals who have cried foul over the jumbo menace for long had earlier issued ultimatums to the KWS to manage the animals or they would take law into their own hands.
They told the Nation that the elephants had frustrated farmers, who are now worried they might be reduced to paupers if destruction of their crops continue.
The locals held a demonstration on April 17 over the damage done by the beasts on their farms, despite reporting their grievances to KWS.
They said since 2012 the community had to contend with the continued harassment from the elephants, which have destroyed a solar-powered fence, crops, trees and some homesteads making the lives of area residents miserable.
“We chase the animals every night in our farms and we never saw the KWS rangers and we have reported to them several times about the vice.
The officers are not useful to us since they don’t come to our rescue and it would be prudent if they are all transferred” said Paul Rutere, a farmer in Kithoka.
On Madaraka Day celebrations held at Meru Technical Training Institute, North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood called for the transfer of KWS officers based in Meru for alleged incompetence.