Daily Nation (Kenya)

KWS drives 52 stray elephants back to Mwalungaje sanctuary

MONDAY OCTOBER 22 2018

Stray elephants Kwale County

 

Some of the 52 elephants that strayed from the Mwalungaje Elephant Sanctuary on October 20, 2018, casuing panic in Kiteje and Mbuguni villages in Kwale County. PHOTO | FADHILI FREDRICK | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FADHILI FREDRICK

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers in Kwale County have driven 52 stray elephants that had raided Kiteje and Mbuguni villages back to their sanctuary.

The elephants had strayed from Mwalungaje Elephant Sanctuary on Saturday. They roamed in the villages, causing a security risk and destroying crops.

SMOOTH EXECUTION

Kwale community warden Edward Karanja said KWS personnel had launched ground operations to drive back the elephants to the sanctuary.

“I can confidently report that the mission to drive back the herd of elephants was executed smoothly,” he said.

He said the officers are currently on the ground identifying invaded farms and assessing crop damage.

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Elephant invasion in the region is a common phenomenon, with food crops estimated to be worth millions of shillings being destroyed annually.

A number of people have been killed by the animals.

Recently, residents of Dokata in Mackinnon Ward decried rising cases of human-wildlife conflict in the area and accused the KWS management of neighbouring animal conservancies of failure to ensure the animals don’t invade the villages.

The villagers said the situation gets out of hand during the dry season when the animals run out of food in the wilderness and move closer to human settlements for water and pasture.

They called on the government to control the situation to avert more losses.

Area MCA Joseph Danda called for speedy compensation for residents killed by wildlife.