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Council of Elders raises concern over increased transportation of donkeys in Narok

The Maasai Council of Elders has raised concern over the increased transportation of donkeys along major highways in Narok County, especially during the night hours.

The Council’s Chair Kelena Ole Nchoe said the trend has led to a dwindling population of the beast of burden in the county, with many people reporting to have lost their animals in the recent past.

Ole Nchoe called on the security agents to investigate where the animals were coming from and their destination, and whether the transporters had a legal license.

“It is not a wonder to see hundreds of donkeys being pushed towards the Maai Mahiu direction in the night hours. Which makes us wonder is whether the transporters have legal permits to transport the animals or not,” he said.

Nchoe said donkeys were precious animals in every homestead as they are used for transportation and a means of earning an income.

“A donkey can transport heavy loads on rough roads where motorbikes or vehicles cannot penetrate. Women go long distances to fetch water and transport goods to the marketplaces using donkeys. Sadly, their numbers are decreasing every day,” he said.

The Council Chair asked the government to put stringent measures to protect the donkeys so that they do not become extinct from the county.

He also called on the residents to stop selling their donkeys to people in the outside counties and instead protect them passionately as they were their main source of revenue.

Silonka Ole Eille, the Vice Chairman of the Maa Council of Elders said donkeys were important animals in the Maa culture saying it was treated as a sacred animal because of its unique role in the community.

“In our culture, if you kill a donkey, you are forced to pay with a sheep and honey because the animal is treated as a sacred animal,” he said.

The elder said the economy of the Maa women in the village directly depended on the donkey, hence a reason to worry when the animals start disappearing mysteriously.

He recalled recently when his neighbour’s five donkeys were stolen and never traced despite efforts to report them to the police.

“The family was completely destabilized after the theft of the donkeys as they completely depended on the animals for their livelihood. This is why we call upon the government to devise ways of protecting the animals that are on the verge of extinction,” he said.

By Ann Salaton

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