Lamu, KENYA: Eight people have been killed by wildlife in Lamu while at least 25 have been injured in the last one month due to the ongoing ravaging drought.
Many of the deaths and injuries were reported to have happened in late January and February this year.
Confirming the incidents in his office on Wednesday, Lamu KWS senior warden Jacob Orale acknowledged that there were increased incidents of human-wildlife conflicts especially in areas hard hit by drought.
He added that wild animals had began moving into residential areas in search of water while killing and injuring in the process.
Orale said because of the drought almost all water points used by wildlife had dried up and as such the animals especially hipoos and buffaloes had resorted to moving from village to village in search of water and had even to the extent of entering homesteads and houses for the same.
Lamu villages that have been worst affected by the incidents are Mkunumbi, Hindi, Ndeu, Kibaoni, Nyaatha, Pandanguo, Shee Mgambo, Bar’goni, Basuba, Kwasasi, Lake Amu and Lake Kenyatta areas of Mpeketoni.
He said it was also worth noting that scores of wildlife had also died due to the drought.
“At the lake Kenyatta alone,over 20 hippos have died due to the drought and more are still dying daily.The current drought situation in Lamu is worrying.This has contributed to increased human wildlife conflicts. We have lost at least 8 people while 24 others have been injured by buffaloes and hippos between January and February. The situation is even getting worse. We have had several incidences of animals invading water taps and bathrooms in homes in search of water,”said Orale.
Orale said the situation had been made worse by human invasion of wildlife habitats and the careless clearing of forests and bushes more especially in areas intended for mega projects like the Lapsset in Kililana and Mashunduani, proposed Sh 200 billion Coal fired power plant at Kwasasi area in Hindi Division and also areas around the proposed Wind Power project in Mpeketoni Division.
“Those areas were originally the main animal habitats. People have already invaded such areas and cleared the bushes without considering the wild animals. They no longer have a place to hide,” said Orale.
Locals said it had become difficult and almost impossible due to constant invasions by the wild animals and urged the KWS to contain them.
Parents also said the wild animals were also making it hard for students to attend school for fear of being attacked.