Fear as hyenas invade villages in Witu, Lamu in hunt for food

Thursday January 10 2019

Jipendeni Village in Witu Division

Residents of Jipendeni Village in Witu Division, Lamu West during a meeting. They are calling on the government through KWS to contain the hyenas which have invaded their homes in search of food. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Witu Division in Lamu West is an area under siege from hyenas.

These scavengers have turned the villages in Witu into a hunting zone for food.

So emboldened are these hyenas that they are now moving from house to house in such of food, mainly cows, goats, sheep, chicken, ducks and even eggs.

Cats and dogs are also not spared by the hyenas which are now giving the villagers sleepless nights.


Locals who talked to the Nation in Moa, Dide Waride, Katsaka Kairu, Maleli, Sendemke, Taa, Jipendeni and Kitumbini villages on Wednesday expressed worry that their children risk being attacked by the hyenas if urgent measures are not taken to contain the animals.

More than 300 cows, goats, cats and dogs are reported to have either been killed or injured by the hyenas within two months in the affected villages.

Mr Masha Iha who is the senior headman in Moa Sub-Location in Witu Division told the Nation that despite efforts by the villagers to report the problem to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), nothing has been done to contain the situation.

The hyenas are said to target the livestock during the day and at night.


“The hyenas have been killing our goats and sheep and injuring our donkeys and cows. Our cats, dogs, chicken, ducks and even eggs are also being targeted by these notorious hyenas. They are too many and just hang around our villages day and night while looking for our livestock. We call on the KWS to urgently intervene and contain the scavengers or else human beings, particularly babies will also become a target of these animals. Our livestock are being finished,” said Mr Iha.

Mr Andan Godana, a herder from Moa said more than five of his goats have been preyed on by the hyenas within one week.

Mr Godana threatened to mobilise other herders to hunt down and kill the hyenas if KWS will not hear their plea and do something.


He also asked the KWS to compensate them for all the livestock killed by the hyenas.

“Our animals are being finished. We have been complaining of these hyenas invading our villages since November last year. The KWS officers keep on promising that they will visit our villages and chase them away but nothing has been done so far. We are telling them to come and contain these hyenas or we will hunt them down and kill them,” said Mr Godana.

Contacted, Lamu County KWS Senior Warden Mathias Mwavita said the only recent cases so far reported to his office about the hyena problem are in Matondoni and Mokowe villages.

But he said he could dismiss the complaints by Witu residents since most of the villages in the area are bushy and border forests.

He promised to deploy a team of officers to assess the situation in the affected villages and even hunt down the hyenas which are said to be feasting on livestock.