Donkey owners in Lamu whose animals were killed or injured by hyenas want the government, through the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, to compensate them.
The donkey owners, mostly from Matondoni, Kipungani, Tchundwa, Mokowe and Lamu Island, which are the worst affected areas, said many of them have been rendered jobless after their donkeys were killed by the scavengers.
Some donkeys have also been maimed, rendering them useless.
Speaking in Lamu, the donkey owners said it is the high time they are compensated since many are poor and cannot afford to buy other donkeys.
Their spokesman, Maarufu Kidege, said they have tried to submit their complaints to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to see whether they can be compensated but so far there have been no intervention.
“Most of our villages have been infested by the scavengers. Tens of our donkeys have died while others have been maimed for life. We urge the government, through the concerned ministry, to consider compensating us,” said Mr Kidege.
They accused KWS of laxity in dealing with the situation, resulting to incessant attacks on their donkeys, deaths and injuries.
Mr Mohamed Omar, a donkey owner, said KWS should now take them seriously and hunt down the scavengers, failure to which residents will hunt down and kill the hyenas.
The hyenas are believed to have fled their habitats deep in the Boni-Dodori reserve.
“We demand to be compensated by the either the KWS or the Ministry of Wildlife and Tourism. Hyenas have caused us immense losses. Everybody knows that donkeys are our lives here in Lamu. The importance attached to cows in Western Kenya is the same importance we attach to donkeys here. When we lose our donkeys to hyenas, we can’t keep quite. They must compensate us so that we can replace them,” said Mr Omar.
Donkeys are an important part of Lamu’s culture and heritage.
They also form an integral part of the region’s transport system especially in Lamu town where they are the only mode of transport allowed due to the narrowness of the town’s alleys.
Lamu County has over 5,000 donkeys with at least 1,000 being found in Lamu town alone.
A recent report from the donkey office in Lamu indicates that at least 200 donkeys have either been killed or injured by hyenas in the past two years.