Officer warns locals against trespassing on wildlife habitat

Friday March 10 2017

Lions bask in the sun at Aruba Dam

Lions bask in the sun at Aruba Dam in Tsavo East National Park on December 21, 2016. A man in Taveta is recuperating after being attacked by a stray lion. PHOTO | RUPI MANGATA  

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Residents in Taita Taveta County have been warned against invading protected areas, something that might fan the human/wildlife conflict.

Pascal Makari, Taveta sub-county warden, said Kenya Wildlife Service rangers are monitoring animal movements closely, particularly after a 40-year-old man was attacked by a stray lion at Njukini location three weeks ago.

Mr Makari said the man was grazing his cattle in a protected area, thus jeopardising his life.

"We have warned people against invading areas exclusively preserved for wild animals so as to avoid human-wildlife conflict," he said.

He said residents should not panic as the situation is under control.

"There is no cause for panic, we are keenly keeping an eye on the wild animals to avoid unnecessary conflicts. We have intensified patrols to ensure that no animal leaves the park unnoticed," he said.

Maurice Tolle, the victim, sustained serious injuries to his right arm in the evening attack.

Chumvini Village elder Sylvester Kinani said Mr Tolle was discharged from a hospital in Tanzania last week and is in stable condition.

The attack triggered uproar from the locals who demanded that KWS beef up security to reduce cases of lions and elephants encroaching on human settlements.

Over the past three months, invasions of lions, elephants and hyenas have been rife.

This has been attributed the prolonged drought that has forced the animals out of their habitats to look for water and food elsewhere.

Last month, a woman in Sagalla, Voi sub-county died of shock after spotting herds of elephants approaching her homestead.

In the same area, parents pulled their children out of school fearing for their safety in the wake of elephant attacks.

Additionally, farmers in Bura and Sagalla have equally protested to elephants invading their farms and destroying crops.