Farmers in Ndumberi, Kiambu County are up in arms over a monkey invasion that has led to loss of food crops in their farms.
According to the residents, the monkeys have not only invaded their farms but also their human settlements. The locals stated that the monkeys have for the last two week been terrorizing them by destroying their maize, fruits and pawpaw crops
“These monkeys are harvesting our immature maize corn which are 1 month to 2 months old and not yet ready for harvesting,” Kimani Chirangu Kayai, a 55-year-old farmer living in the area told KNA.
He explained that farmers now have no option but to cut down the remains of the maize crops and feed to their cows.
The damage being caused by the monkeys, according to Chirangu, will see the area lose their harvest for the coming season. “Some of us will go hungry if this continues since the monkeys come very early in the morning and also in the evening,” said Chriangu.
Chirangu said the area residents are asking the Kenya Wildlife Services to come to their rescue since they do not even know where the monkeys are emanating from.
“We want KWS to return the monkeys to their natural habitat in the forests. More of them are coming from we don’t know where and not giving us peace especially at night as they keep on roaming and moving from roof to roof’,” he said noting that their efforts to chase them away has been fruitless
“I have an acre of land where I have planted fruits and sunflowers, if the monkey invasion continues, I will lose all the fruits on the farm,” Chirangu said.
He asked KWS to come up with the best strategy of getting rid of the monkeys once and for all especially now that they are growing in number day by day.
Martha Thenya, an 80 year old woman also expressed concern of the monkey invasion in her only piece of land saying she had planted thee bags of maize seedlings in her farm and had bought several fertilizer bags to enhance her farm produce but it seems all will have gone to waste.
“I have lived here many years and has never seen this. I have been forced now to buy catapults so that when I see the monkeys coming to my farm, I use it on them although the law does not allow us kill the wild animals,” she said,
Speaking to KNA the Kenya Wildlife Service Warden in Ol Donyo Sabuk and who covers Kiambu area, Henry Kirinyet said that plans are being put in place to trap and capture the monkeys.
He noted that they will make sure the monkeys are cornered in order to contain the situation so that wildlife and humans are able to co-exist. “As KWS, we want to encourage Ndumberi farmers to use well secured bins that are monkey-proof and will not attract the monkeys,” Kirinyet said.
He asked the residents to fasten their dustbin lids and also use flexible straps or bungee cord as well as ensure no food waste is left lying around homesteads since this will attract the monkeys.
According to experts, monkeys can also be kept away by using monkey traps and growing scented and therapeutic herbs and medicinal plants such as aloe vera which the monkeys dislike and do not consume.
By Elizabeth Wanja