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Farmers counting losses as elephants invade farms

Farmers at Njogu-ini area in the expansive Kabaru ward of Nyeri County are counting huge losses after marauding elephants invaded their farms leaving a trail of destruction on their crops.

The most affected are those growing maize and cabbages who are now staring at famine and poverty despite their heavy investments.

Speaking to the press  on Tuesday, the famers demanded urgent action by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to confine the jumbos to their natural habitats.

They  said the elephants have destroyed an electric fence installed and called on KWS to add extra wires to about six or seven.

“If a calf crosses under the wire, the mother will break the rest to follow the calf,” said Gladys Wanjiru, a cabbage
farmer.

The farmers lamented that KWS had not compensated them for past damages of their crops despite them applying for  compensation from the body.

Recently, the area MP, Kanini Kega said the allocation for compensation to KWS was not adequate and was trying to push for more allocations.

The  Kabaru  ward MCA, Joseph Njiri who was present said the area could be a bread basket for Nyeri County and beyond but farmers’ efforts were being frustrated by wild animals wreaking havoc on crops.

“This is a  well-endowed  agricultural area that can be the bread basket of Nyeri County and neighbouring regions but elephants are destroying our crops,” Njiri said.

He expressed fear that the locals would soon stare at poverty and fail to educate their children if the menace is not

contained.

Njiri said efforts by KWS to post two rangers in the area to control the jumbos was not enough and called for the

installation of an electric fence and additional wires as a permanent solution to the human/wildlife conflict.

“We do not want to bury people here as human life is more important than that of elephants,” he lamented.

The farmers threatened to kill the jumbos if KWS does not urgently address the menace.

By Beth Ndirangu

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