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Elephants disrupt learning in Voi schools

Tuesday June 4 2019

elephants invasion

Security officers bar Voi residents from accessing KWS offices in Sofia, Taita Taveta County, on June 4, 2019. The residents were demonstrating over increased elephants invasion in the area. PHOTO | LUCY MKANYIKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

LUCY MKANYIKA
By LUCY MKANYIKA
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Parents in Ndii, Taita Taveta County, have threatened to withdraw their children from school due to increased cases of human-wildlife conflict in the area.

The Mlundinyi Primary School parents said they were concerned about the safety of their children after herds of elephants invaded the area.

They said their children will only return to school after the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) drives out the elephants from the area.

DESTROY CROPS

They accused KWS officers of doing little to remove the jumbos that have continued to destroy their crops.

On Tuesday morning, several parents and their children stormed KWS offices in Sofia, Voi, to protest failure by the agency to drive out the animals.

Ms Eunice Talu, a resident, said elephant invasions had increased in the area.

“Our village has become part of the (Tsavo National Park) park, we no longer do our day-to-day chores freely for fear of being attacked by marauding elephants,” she said.

The presence of elephants has disrupted learning, pupils in local schools are forced to report late to school and go home early.

SAFETY

Four schools in Ngolia ward have been forced to adjust their timetables for safety purposes.

Mbulia and Mlundinyi primary schools as well as John mark Mwashuma and David Kayanda secondary schools are facing threats of human-wildlife conflicts.

Last week, four elephants disrupted learning at Kighombo Primary School after they stormed the compound.

The pupils scampered for safety before KWS officers arrived to control the situation.

The parents now escort their young children to school and pick them in the evening.

“We would rather stay with our children at home than risk their lives as they go to school,” said Mr Livingstone Mwachai.

QUICK ACTION

Area leaders demanded quick action from KWS.

Ngolia Ward Representative Jones Mghanga said wild animal invasion has interfered with normal lives of residents.

“If they (KWS) fail to control their wildlife we will help them to do so,” said Mr Mghanga.

KWS has been on the ground for the last one week trying to drive out the elephants from the area.

Ngolia and Sagalla areas have been experiencing perennial invasions since the jumbos cross from Tsavo East National Park to the neighbouring ranches.

Tsavo Community Warden Zainab Salim said a team of aerial and ground rangers had camped in the area to drive the elephants back to Tsavo National Park.

MIGRATION PATTERNS

Ms Salim assured that parents that all the elephants will be driven back to the park to ensure that normal learning resumes without interruption.

“We are doing our best to remove the jumbos from the area,” she said.

Last week Ms Salim had said the Standard Gauge Railway had interfered with the wildlife migration patterns in Tsavo area.

Ms Salim said some of the underpasses were too small for elephants to navigate. She also said the fencing off of the SGR scared wildlife.

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