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Lions invade Manda-Maweni village in Lamu, kill livestock

Monday September 2 2019

Manda-Maweni village headman Bernard Nyachae

Manda-Maweni village headman Bernard Nyachae next a donkey that was killed by marauding lions on September 2, 2019. Locals have appealed to KWS to track down the lions and return them to their habitat. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KALUME KAZUNGU
By KALUME KAZUNGU
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Residents of Manda-Maweni village in Lamu West are pleading with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to urgently intervene and chase away three lions that have so far killed ten goats and two donkeys.

The residents told the Nation on Monday that for the past three weeks, they have been “walking with the lions” as they keep encountering them while going about their business in the remote village.

The big cats early Monday morning invaded the village and killed a donkey before they left after scared residents threw stones from inside their houses.

10 GOATS

Mr Bernard Nyachae, who is the headman of Manda-Maweni, said two weeks ago, the three lions descended on the village and killed ten goats.

Last week, a donkey was also attacked and killed by the carnivores in the same village.

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The Nation established that on Monday, most villagers remained indoors after they were instructed to limit their movements to avoid being attacked by the hungry lions.

Manda residents' main economic activity is stone quarrying with most of the mines being in the bush.

Such activities have also been hampered by the presence of the lions.

SCHOOL CHILDREN

School children preparing to resume third term studies this week were also advised to remain at home until KWS addresses the matter.

“At around 4am, the lions invaded our village and killed a donkey. Two weeks ago, the same lions descended on our village and killed ten goats. Last week, a donkey was killed here. That’s enough indication that we’re living with the dangerous carnivores with us here. We’ve been asking KWS to come and help us drive the lions away from our village but nothing has so far materialised,” said Mr Nyachae.

Mr Johnson Kamau, a villager who has lived in Manda for the past 10 years, said they will starve if KWS will not hurry and chase the big cats out of their village.

FEAR

He said normal activities have been affected as locals fear for their lives.

“The KWS should promptly act on this. Lions are endangering our lives here. We’ve already lost many goats and donkeys including today. We can’t go to work anymore for fear of attacks by the carnivores. We’ll starve if things go this way. Let this matter be put to rest,” pleaded Mr Kamau.

Ms Lucy Ojwang also accused the KWS of laxity in responding to complaints raised by the locals in Manda.

She said locals have also been crying for help due to increased attacks by snakes but, unfortunately, nothing has been done to address the issue.

Contacted, Lamu County KWS Senior Warden Mathias Mwavita confirmed the presence of the lions roaming Manda area.

LEFT FOREST

Mr Mwavita said he believes the lions might have left their habitat deep in the Boni-Dodori Reserve.

“It’s true. There are lions on the loose in Manda. I am told they’ve killed a donkey today at dawn. These lions gained access to the village after they swam across the Indian Ocean using the Mkanda channel during low tide,” said Mr Mwavita.

He said rangers have already been dispatched to the village with strict instructions to immobilise the carnivores on sight and have them transferred back to the Boni-Dodori Reserve.

“We’ve sent enough rangers and our vet to hunt the lions and ensure they immobilise them on sight before transferring them to their original habitat. The challenge we’re facing is that Manda is bushy and it’s a bit hard for us to spot the big cats. That’s why we’ve also set a trap in the area to help us catch the lions,” said Mr Mwavita.