Over 200 farmers from Ayatya sub location in Barwessa ward of Baringo North, Baringo county, are counting loses after four rogue elephants invaded their farms, destroying crops and properties.
According to the residents, the marauding jumbos were said to have sneaked out of Rimoi National Game Reserve during the eve of new year and have been camping in Cheptargok, Kapkoitum, Chemale, Chesawany, Koisser and Seron villages ravaging, eating and trampling on food crops like bananas, paw paws, oranges, cowpeas, cotton plantation, mangoes as well as destroying fences.
Stephen Chelal, a farmer, who spoke to the press on Wednesday at Cheptargok village said that he has incurred great loss amounting to hundreds of thousand after the elephants visited his once flourishing farm of lush crops decimating every produce available.
Chelal said that he depends on the farm to raise fees for his six children and family income, a situation he noted, is likely to push his household to fringe of abject poverty.
“I used to sell one bunch of banana at Sh1, 000 as well as my paw paws but right now I am left with nothing,” he said.
Dorothy Kiprotich, another resident from Ayatya sub location said that her family members scampered to safety after seeing the elephants advancing towards their home and did not set foot there for three days because of the fear instilled in them by the wild animals.
Ms. Kiprotich noted that pupils were reporting to school as late as 10am because of the fear of the elephants.
David Chepkonga added that the animals have also vandalized a water pumping machine installed in the only existing water pan in the area.
He stated that the affected farmers should be compensated for the crop damages caused by the wild animals.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) senior warden Peter Lekeren who had dispatched a contingent of rangers to drive the jumbos back to Rimoi game reserve said that he received complaints from the residents and acted swiftly to avert further destruction.
The senior warden urged residents from the sub location to be extra vigilant especially during this dry season since the animals were coming out of the game reserve in search of pasture and water.
“We can expect more human wildlife conflicts especially within Ayatya because it is the only area within Kerio Valley with a permanent water source,” said Lekeren.
At the same time he called on area people to continue passing vital information to KWS office when they notice the presence of the elephants within their villages to enable them take action and not to take the law into their hands by provoking or injuring the wildlife.
By Joshua Kibet