Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has warned that the ongoing dry spell being experienced in most parts of the country is displacing wildlife from their traditional habitats in search of pasture and water. This has increased conflict as the wildlife comes into contact with the public and human activities.
In a statement, KWS told the public that as the dry spell progresses, the risk of human wildlife conflict is expected to increase until the country receives the long rains. Areas that have experienced increased incidence of human wildlife conflict in recent weeks are in Narok, Taita Taveta, Laikipia, Kajiado, Meru, Mau, Marsabit, Lamu and the Mt Kenya region.
The wildlife agency provided telephone numbers on its website through which members of the public can contact its officials whenever incidents occur or when wildlife is sighted.
Members of the public in areas that were not listed were advised to contact the nearest KWS office.
“In the meantime, KWS has enhanced surveillance to ensure that the public is protected from wildlife. Foot, vehicle and aerial patrols have been intensified to manage the situation,” it said.
“The public is also advised not to set fires close to protected areas as these fires are likely going to cross over into the protected areas and further worsen the human wildlife conflict as wildlife exit to public areas,” added KWS.
According to the Kenya Meteorological Department, the October-December seasonal rainfall performance was generally poor especially over the Western, North-Western and North Eastern parts of the Country.
A few stations, however, achieved 100% of their seasonal Long-Term Means (LTMs). They included
Mombasa (137%), Machakos (130%), Kisumu (118%), Mandera (117%), Voi (108%), Nyahururu (102%) and Nyeri (101%). Most parts of the country also experienced sunny and dry weather conditions for most of
January but some received substantial rainfall at the beginning of this month.
In March, the rainfall season is expected to start over most parts of the country. However, sunny and dry weather conditions are likely to persist over parts of Northwestern and the northern Coastal strip.