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Human-wildlife conflict cases on the rise

Cases of human-wildlife conflict around Lake Naivasha are on the rise with Hippo attacks said to have recorded the highest number of casualties.

KWS assistant Director in charge of Central Rift Dickson Ritan attributed the rise in conflict to recent job losses in various sectors due to the Covid-19 pandemic with the sacked workers being pushed to the lake to seek meals for their families through illegal fishing.

This came even as a 30-year-old illegal fisherman became the latest casualty after he was attacked and killed by a hippo near Karagita beach while on an illegal fishing mission.

Ritan added that the illegal fishermen were accessing the lake through private farms leading to another conflict with the land owners.

“Cases of conflict between the land owners and the illegal fishermen have been reported while hippo attacks have also shot up,” he said.

Speaking after touring Kihoto estate which has been affected by lake waters, Ritan warned over an increase in hippo attacks with six cases having been reported in the last one month.

He however said KWS had formed a multi-agency security team to address the rising cases of illegal fishing and trespass of private farms.

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Mathioya Mbogo admitted that the number of illegal fishermen in the lake was on the rise and attributed this to the pandemic which led to major job losses in the flower farms and hotels around the lake.

Earlier, a group of fishermen had attacked a security guard near Hippo Camp and seriously injured him after he blocked them from accessing the lake for fishing.

The guard was admitted in a private hospital suffering from serious injuries on his head after the illegal fishermen attacked him using crude weapons.

By Esther Mwangi

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