Star (Kenya)

Jumbos stray into farms, destroy crops

Elephants at Tsavo East national park.
Elephants at Tsavo East national park.

Farmers in Mandongoi village in Kitui were left counting losses on Tuesday after a herd of elephants strayed into their farms and destroyed crops.

The animals have been roaming villages after straying from the Kora National Game Reserve on May 11. At least 20 farms were invaded by the jumbos on Tuesday.

Farmers in Kanyunyi, Masamba, Kiseuni and Mandongoi villages were the worst affected.

The beasts devoured maize and sorghum.

“My crops would have fetched thousands of shillings had they grown to maturity,” farmer Peter Musyoka said.

Musyoka’s farm of green grams, sorghum, maize and cowpeas.

He spoke as Kitui Kenya Wildlife Service Compensation Committee chairman Cyril Mwasya toured the farms to assess the damage caused by the elephants.

“The jumbos hide in the thickets whenever KWS officials come to scare them. KWS must use a chopper to drive the animals back to the park,” Musyoka said.

Mwasya urged farmers whose crops were destroyed to liaise with agricultural extension officers to seek compensation.

The officers will compute the cost of the damage.

Mwingi North MP Paul Nzengu promised to liaise with KWS to drive the 12 elephants back to the game reserve.

“I have spoken to the KWS director general who promised to send a helicopter to be used to drive away the jumbos. It’s only that the weather has not been favourable,” Nzengu said.