The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has pledged to tackle the hippo menace affecting residents living near Athi River in Mwala and Yatta sub counties.
Machakos KWS Warden Polycarp Okuku noted with concern the increasing cases of hippo attacks in the area and promised that KWS will find a lasting solution to the problem.
Addressing a joint baraza organized by Mwala Deputy County Commissioner David Tegutwa and his Yatta counterpart Lilian Njagi Wednesday at Katangi near river Athi, Okuku however asked residents to exercise caution to avert further attacks.
“We are asking residents to limit the time spent in the river and be extra vigilant to curb loss of lives and injuries,” said the KWS warden.
His assurance comes after a middle-aged man was attacked and seriously injured by a hippo at Miondoni area on Monday on his way home in Katangi.
The victim suffered injuries in his ribs and is recuperating at the Machakos Level Five Hospital.
Okuku appealed for calm and disclosed that KWS wardens were working round the clock to trace the hippo.
Angry residents on Monday barricaded the Katangi-Kitui road protesting the attack.
The residents lit bon fires and paralyzed transport for several hours accusing KWS of laxity.
Speaking at the baraza DCC Njagi decried the human-wildlife conflicts in the region and asked KWS to move with speed and address the issue.
She noted that three people had been killed and several injured in similar attacks in the last one year and called for a lasting solution to end the conflicts.
“The attacks are very disheartening. We should avert further loss of lives and property because the hippos also invade farms and destroy crops,” added the DCC.
Njagi warned residents against taking law in their hands and advised them to instead embrace dialogue by reporting such incidents to relevant authorities for necessary action.
She condemned the barricading of the road saying such acts only heighten the tension between residents and security officers.
“Such incidents do not solve any problem if anything they lead to further destruction. We have clear administrative structures for reporting beginning with village elders,” said the administrator.
Speaking at the same event DCC Tegutwa asked residents to coexist with the wildlife saying killing or driving away the animals would adversely affect the ecosystem.
“Killing the animals is not a solution because they play a very integral role in our existence,” said the Mwala DCC.
By Roselyne Kavoo