Marauding wild animals keep residents locked indoors (Kenya)


Anthony Kitimo & Maureen Ongala, The Nation

Date Published

See link for photo.

Some residents of Kilifi and Tana River counties are forced to stay indoors during the day to avoid being attacked by wild animals. 

For the past three weeks, at least three people have been killed and several others injured as humans and wildlife scramble for water. 

The latest victim is 20-year-old Margaret Hega Chivatsi from Mweza village in Kaloleni, who was killed by a stray elephant on Saturday. 

The jumbo is among a herd of nine that has been marauding in the village for the past two weeks, with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) seen to have been overwhelmed by the situation after the animals escaped from Tsavo National Park in search of water and forage. 

Ms Chivatsi was going to check on her mother, Ms Makali Makavi, and her two-year-old son in the grazing field when she got attacked by the elephant.

Ms Makavi said her daughter died while receiving treatment at a local dispensary. 

“The elephant attacked my daughter from the back, broke her ribs and tore into her stomach and chest,” said the mother. 

Mr Kalume Kazungu, a resident of Mweza, said the elephants have been blocking pupils from going to school and that villagers have been unable to leave homes and fend for themselves for days now.

Under Siege

Mr Kazungu said Kayafungo area has been under siege from wild animals, especially buffaloes and elephants, with at least one attack reported every week. “Buffaloes have invaded our villages and last week they attacked a woman who was going to fetch water. Luckily, she ran and saved her life,” said Mr Kazungu.

Two weeks ago, Ms Saumu Sadama lost her two-year-old child, who was eaten by hyenas at Baisa village.  The animals also injured several residents. 

At Kamale village, Magarini, villagers are forced get home by 5pm to escape the wrath of hyenas. “Hyenas are all over our villages. KWS officers only came on Tuesday this week (last week) and set up traps after we reported spotting two lions near our homes. Since then, we haven’t seen them (the officers),” said Mr Wale.

Due to the attacks, the locals are now forced to graze their animals within their homesteads. 

Mr Wale, who was speaking while counting carcasses of his 11 animals that he lost to drought, said if the government does not provide relief, several people may die in the next few weeks. “We have been left with only one waterpan in the whole of Kamale village, which is being used by both livestock and humans. It is going to dry soon and the situation will become worse,” he said. 

Mr Shadrack Kalama said he has lost 16 of his cows in the past two weeks.

In Gandini Forest, Kilifi County, carcasses of animals are littered everywhere, with hyenas and dogs enjoying the party.