The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is hunting down a lioness that is posing a threat to Tharaka Nithi residents neighbouring the Meru National Park.
The Meru National Park Senior Warden, Bakari Chongwa said a lioness with two cubs strayed from the park and KWS officers were hunting it down to return it to the park.
Residents neighbouring the park say they are living in fear after a suspected wild animal killed three cows on diverse days only days after the Tourism Cabinet Secretary launched the construction of a perimeter fence around the park.
The residents from Gatagani village in Tharaka North Sub-county are also counting losses after the marauding wild animal killed the cows and foot prints led to a neighbouring thicket.
Simon Kanyaru, one of the victims of the marauding beast, said the suspected stray lioness invaded his cow’s shed on Sunday night killing the only two cows he had.
Kanyaru said despite his effort to scare them away, they returned after sometime and consumed the remainder of their kill.
“I have reported the matter to Kiamiramba police post but Kenya wildlife Service (KWS) officers are yet to visit the scene and asses the damages,” complained the victim.
The residents are now living in fear that the suspected animal might attack them while grazing in the bush or attack people at night.
They threatened to hunt down and kill the animal in case it continued to kill their livestock and appealed to the KWS to act quickly to avert a possible eruption human-wildlife conflict.
“It is either the KWS come for their animals or we will hunt them down and kill them all in case they attack or kill more of our cows. We are tired of reporting this matter to them without any action,” they said.
Last week, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala said the government has already allocated Sh.96 million for the erection of the 53 km southern boundaries’ fence to stop the human–wildlife conflict that has been experienced by the people of Tharaka North sub-county that neighbours the Meru National Park.
“This financial year the government has allocated Sh.500 million to compensate the victims of the human-wildlife conflict but with a backlog of Sh.5 billion pending to be paid to victims countrywide. The government is investing more towards bringing this issue to its logical conclusion,” said the CS.
Speaking during the launch of Southern Boundaries Fence of Meru National Park at Ura Gate in Tharaka Nithi County on Thursday, Balala said a committee tasked with the compensation of the victims has planned to disburse the funds in three phases hence the Sh.230,000 to victims in Tharaka North Sub-county.
By David Mutwiri