Sleepless nights for Lamu locals as hyenas maul donkeys

Donkeys near a sign board of the Lamu law courts. PHOTO COURTESY

Lamu, KENYA: Lamu Locals have accused Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) of laxity in dealing with hyenas that have been attacking their donkeys.

According to a report released by the Donkey Sanctuary Lamu office on Wednesday, at least 10 donkeys have been killed with 40 others suffering serious injuries following hyena attacks in several parts of the county.

The sanctuary senior veterinary Felix Rachuonyo says the trend is worrying and could get worse if prompt interventions aren’t made.

Speaking at the sanctuary grounds on Wednesday, Rachuonyo said areas worst infested by the scavengers are Matondoni, Kipungani, Tchundwa and most recently, Lamu town.

He said his office had already written to the KWS Lamu office adding that they expect interventions soon so that the hyenas,  believed to have fled their habitats deep in the Boni-Dodori reserve, are quarantined.

“We however hope that the KWS will take us serious and hunt down these hyenas and take them back to their habitats,” said Rachuonyo.

Donkeys owners who lost their animals to the hyena attacks are also demanding to be compensated for their loss.

“Everybody knows that donkeys are our lives here in Lamu. The importance attached to cows back in western Kenya is the same importance we attach to donkeys here. They are that important to us. When we lose our donkeys to hyenas, we cant keep quiet. KWS must compensate us so we can replace the dead donkeys,” said Omar Kidege from Kipungani who lost three donkeys.

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 historical narrowness of the town’s alleys.