THE Kenya Wildlife Services has launched an air and ground operation to control the movement of marauding elephants in areas adjacent to Tsavo National Park. The operation aims to end the human wildlife conflict that has escalated in the region.
According to the senior warden in charge of Tsavo East National Park, Constance Mwasho, the air operation is conducted on daily basis to monitor the movement of the elephants since the ground team cannot spot them easily.
Mwasho also called on residents of Taita who had successfully applied for compensation following wildlife attacks to collect their money from KWS offices at Voi. She said many cheques were lying idle at their offices dating as far back as 2009. Mwasho said that they had tried to contact the people through their chiefs in vain.
Speaking during the district wildlife compensation committee meeting at Wundanyi, Mwasho said that a total of 38 cases of wildlife attacks were reported this year, four among them causing death. “Despite increased invasion of elephants to the people’s farms in areas of Mwatate district, the cases of attacks involving elephants have gone down this year,” said Mwasho.
She attributed the decrease to the efforts by KWS to ensure elephants that strayed from the park ware controlled. “Right now we have deployed four mobile ground teams of rangers at Aaliya, Maktau,Latika and Kasighau locations for special operations to ensure that the elephants are kept away until locals harvest their crops,” said the warden.
She however, expressed her concern over the increase in cases of snake attacks in the area which had already claimed two lives this year.
Many residents don’t report snake bites to the KWS since they are not aware that the cases should be reported. Mwasho said the increase in snake bite is because some locals leave their compounds bushy thus attracting the reptiles.
Her sentiments were echoed by the Taita DO David Boen who chaired the meeting saying that the government was sensitizing the locals on coexisting peacefully with wildlife through public meetings. Boen urged the residents to embrace the fencing project by KWS in order to bring to an end the persistent human wildlife conflict. Other cases that were reported this year include jackal and buffalo attacks.