Grief has engulfed Aitong village in Narok West Sub County after a 55-year-old man was killed by elephants and his body eaten by hyenas.
Confirming the Sunday night incident, Narok West Sub County Commandant Abdullahi Ziile said the man failed to go back home after leaving in the late evening hours, forcing his family members to look for him in the morning.
“The villagers reported the matter to the police who together with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) mounted an operation to seek for the man in the thick bush,” said Ziile.
“After searching for hours, they found a fresh bone in the thickest bush, which after being analyzed by KWS officers it was found to be of a human being,” he added.
The officer said the bone was taken to Longisa Referral Hospital mortuary for preservation awaiting postmortem.
Meanwhile, the KWS and police officers have sensitized the local residents on how to prevent human- wild conflicts that have been on increase in the area.
“The residents were very furious after realizing one of their kin had been killed by elephants and were threatening to poison all the elephants in the area. However, after engaging them in dialogue, they cooled down and appreciated the need to co-exist with the animals,” he said.
Mr. Zille called upon the residents to avoid walking in the bushes at late night as the animals are aggressively roaming about looking for shelter due to heavy rains.
The area that borders the world famous Maasai Mara Game reserve has in recent past experienced increased cases of human – wildlife conflict due to the large number of animals living in the unprotected conservation areas.
Some organizations such as World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) have initiated a drive to support communities living around the game reserve to establish conservancies to protect wildlife as well as earn income.
Last year, WWF Director in-charge of Conservation Jared Bosire said about 36 percent of the wildlife in the larger Maasai Mara Park are found outside the conservancies hence the increase in human – wild conflicts.
According to KWS information on the website, some 2,493 elephants were counted at the Maasai Mara game reserve in 2017 compared to 1,448 elephants counted 1n 2014.
This represented an increase of 72.2 per cent which is a very good result considering the threat Mara elephants were under due to poaching for trophies and spearing due to human-elephant conflicts.
By Ann Salaton