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Isiolo MP wants herders allowed to graze in parks

Monday August 12 2019

A man taking his livestock for grazing.

A man taking his livestock for grazing. Isiolo North MP Hassan Odha wants herders from pastoralist communities allowed to graze in national parks, saying this will help cushion them from losses of their animals due to the effects of the ongoing dry spell. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WAWERU WAIRIMU
By WAWERU WAIRIMU
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Isiolo North MP Hassan Odha wants herders from pastoralist communities allowed to graze in national parks, saying this will help cushion them from losses of their animals due to the effects of the ongoing dry spell.

Addressing journalists in Isiolo town, the legislator said there is need to formulate policies to guide a negotiated use so that it does not affect the parks.

"There is need for leaders and the Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service to sit down and see if they (herders) can be allowed to graze in the parks to prevent their animals from dying but the use must not affect the reserves," said Mr Odha, adding that many animals are emaciated due to dwindling pastures.

FINED

Three herders were last week fined Sh600,000 by an Isiolo court after they were found guilty of grazing their 182 cows in Samburu National Reserve.

Mr Odha asked herder committees to sit down with elders and agree on how to share the remaining resources to prevent conflicts.

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"Let them come up with guidelines on sharing of the natural resources that are scarce for our people to continue living in peace," the legislator said.

Drying of rivers and other water sources due to increased human activities upstream has been blamed for the depletion of pastures and lack of enough water for domestic and animal use downstream.

CONFLICTS

Cases of attacks in the grazing fields over control of the resources have been on the rise.

A herder was last week shot dead by suspected bandits at Biliqo field in Garbatulla Sub-County while another was seriously injured when a group of attackers opened fire on him at Kambi Samaki as he grazed his camels.

HOLDING GROUNDS

Plans by the Isiolo County government to establish feedlots in strategic holding grounds to save thousands of animals that die during drought are underway, Governor Mohamed Kuti recently said.

The intensive feeding programme helps in fattening the emaciated animals for them to gain internationally acceptable weight prior to slaughter.

The county has in the 2019/2020 budget allocated Sh40 million for building a livestock market, disease mapping, improvement of the Isiolo slaughterhouse and drought mitigation.