Human-Elephant Conflict in Kenya - 2003



Posted on 02 October 2003  | 
In the last seven years, 200 people in Kenya were killed by wildlife. A far greater number were injured and indeed maimed. Communities living next to protected areas lose half their crop and are often rendered dependent on food aid. The nomadic pastoral communities who live side-by-side wildlife lose at least one animal every week to predatory wildlife. An estimated 80 per cent of Kenya’s spectacular wildlife is found outside protected areas in community lands. Report on Human-Wildlife Conflicts in Kenya undertaken by Africa Conservation Centre for ActionAid. September 23, 2003: Eight elephants invade a maize farm in Koibatek District, in the Rift Valley, and turning wild when villagers try to scare them away. Farmers lament if the elephants destroy their maize harvest, they would be forced to rely on relief food handouts. They threaten to arm themselves with bows and arrows to keep the offending animals at bay. East African Standard newspaper September 18, 2003: Three elephants invade villages and farms at Kilifi in the coast causing mayhem. It took the combined force of the Kenya Wildlife Service rangers and Police to drive the stubborn creatures out of town. They were undeterred by several shots fired in the air, causing a spectacle as they asserted their indomitable might by posing on the busy Nairobi-Mombasa highway. Two of the elephants were eventually shot dead. East African Standard September 13, 2003: Farmers in the Mount Kenya area write to the Minister for Environment asking him to allow them to export elephants as a means of reducing conflict, and raising money to build an electric fence around Mt Kenya forest. They say some 700 elephants in the area have made crop production a near impossibility. East African Standard August 9, 2003: Small-scale farmers take to the streets in the coastal town of Malindi to protest destruction of their crops by elephants, complaining they were being reduced to beggars of food. East African Standard August 8, 2003: A 40-year old farmer trying to protect his crop from elephants is trampled to death in Laikipia District in the Rift Valley part of Kenya. He was the fourth person in this part of the country to be killed by elephants this year. Daily Nation newspaper/East African Standard August 7, 2003: Hundreds of community members trap and kill two elephants believed to be part of a herd that raids farmer fields in Transmara District. A third elephant escaped the day-long ordeal seriously injured. Daily Nation newspaper/East African Standard July 15, 2003: A cyclist in Lamu, at the coast, is killed when he unexpected encountered a herd of 10 elephants. His body was found on top of a tree. East African Standard June 30, 2003: The government announces plans to develop a law to address human-wildlife conflicts. The law, the Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill, is being drafted for Parliamentary approval soon, according to the Minister for Environment, Dr Newton Kulundu. Daily Nation June 27, 2003: Masais living in Narok District, which the Masai Mara Game Reserve is located, take to the streets to protest being held hostage by elephants in their homes for 12 hours from dawn to dusk as the elephants raided their crops earlier in the week. A man was killed as he and his wife took their sick child to hospital. The Masais complained of inaction by the concerned authority, the Kenya Wildlife Service, in dealing with the elephant menace and vowed to kill the marauding animals terrorising them. Daily Nation June 26, 2003: 50 elephants and 10 lions from the Tsavo West National Park terrorise communities in Taita-Taveta’s Mwatate area destroying crops and killing livestock. Communities give the government an ultimatum to bring the situation under control, or they take matters into their own hands and kill the wildlife. East African Standard June 5, 2003: Three elephants are killed and a calf seriously injured by suspected poachers in Wajir District, North Eastern Kenya. East African Standard May 31, 2003: Kenyans call for an upward amendment of compensation packages for destruction of property and death meted by wildlife. They want compensation payment for death caused by wildlife increased from Ksh30,000 to Ksh5 million. A motion tabled and passed in Parliament last year had increased this payment to Ksh1 million, but it is not yet being implemented. Daily Nation April 11, 2003: A 20-year old man is trampled to death by six elephants that invaded his farm near Mt Kenya for two nights. The man died while trying to drive the elephants away and save his crop. Earlier in the same week, a forest warden was killed in similar circumstances in the very area. Two weeks before that three people were also attacked and injured by elephants in the same area. Daily Nation April 3, 2003: At the coast in Malindi, a man is trampled to death by an elephant thought to have strayed the nearby from the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. Another that had been terrorising villagers and children, and destroying crops in Kilifi was driven back into the forest. East African Standard March 26, 2003: A three-year boy is burnt to death as his grandfather and neighbours watched helplessly as a group of elephants stood guard at the home’s entrance in the central part of Kenya. The elephants, from the Mt Kenya Forest, had invaded a neighbouring primary school at 7am engaging pupils, teachers and parents in a hide and seek game. By the end of a six hour duel with the KWS rangers trying to herd them back to the forest, the elephants had invaded five other schools including one for handicapped children, and injured three people – two critically. They had also wrecked havoc on substantial amounts of crops. At least one elephant was shot dead. For Further Information, Contact Catherine Mgendi, Communications Manager WWF Eastern Africa Tel: 254 020 572630/1; 577355 Fax: 254 020 577389 E-mail: cmgendi@wwfearpo.org

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