Nakuru residents are likely to have encounters with elephants in the coming weeks, the Kenya Wildlife Service has warned.
The revelation comes as a shocker as all game parks and wildlife protected areas in Nakuru do not host the jumbos.
“This is a season where most crops in farms within Nakuru are mature. These foodstuffs that have not been harvested are likely to attract elephants from their traditional habitats into homesteads in this county.
This will increase conflicts as wildlife comes into contact with the public and human activities,” warned Nakuru County Senior Warden Eunice Kiarie
The Senior Warden said KWS had received reports that a herd of elephants had been spotted in several areas of Subukia Sub-County.
“The public is also advised not to attempt to drive away the animals without involving KWS game rangers. It is dangerous. Any sightings of wild animals should be reported to us immediately,” stated Ms Kiarie.
Subukia Deputy County Commissioner Mpembe Hirbae Kaduda confirmed that elephant invasions had been reported in Kavelela location within Mbogoini Division.
“The villagers in Subukia are spending sleepless nights trying to ward off these animals from their farms where they had already invaded. There is no game park or wildlife protected area in this County that hosts elephants,” noted Kaduda.
The elephants are believed to be hailing from the neigbouring Laikipia County where they come from Rumuruti- Marmanet forest and Laikipia Nature and Conservancy.
In Laikipia conflicts between human beings and elephants are a common occurrence where hundreds of people have been killed and crops worth millions of shillings destroyed in the past.
In September last year Deputy President William Ruto commissioned the construction of a Sh 200 million wildlife fence around the Rumuruti-Marmanet Forest.
During the commissioning of the fence in Rumuruti town, the government also promised to fence off other areas prone to human wildlife conflicts as it planned to pay off pending claims for injury, deaths and destruction done by the wildlife in the past.
Ms Kiarie assured the residents that KWS had enhanced surveillance to ensure that the public is protected from wildlife.
“Foot, vehicle and aerial patrols have been intensified to manage the situation. We have a team on the ground that is ready to counter invasions,” the KWS senior warden said.
She called on members of the public to report all sightings through mobile phone number 0775680213 which is manned 24 hours a day
Areas that have experienced increased incidences of human-wildlife conflict in recent weeks are Narok, Taita Taveta, Laikipia, Kajiado, Meru, Mau, Marsabit, Lamu and the Mt. Kenya region.
By Anne Mwale