Residents in rural areas of Malindi and Magarini sub counties, Kilifi County have sunken deeper in hunger as elephants invade farms, destroying food crops.
The elephants from Tsavo East National Park have invaded communal water points and farms over the past one month, consuming the little crops available, posing residents to hunger and insecurity.
Shadrack Yaa, a farmer at Shakahola village in Chakama location expressed his disappointment through social media saying he has been spending sleepless nights guarding his crops.
“Hunger calamity is glaring at Shakahola. Elephants have invaded our farms and destroyed food. For one month now every night chasing elephants,” the post read.
The animals have devoured most parts of Adu and Chakama wards, clearing up all maize crops, banana and coconut trees. According to the residents, the animals start destroying farms from as early as 6pm every day, also blocking paths from shopping centers posing great danger to people.
Village elders claim that they have been engaging the area ward representatives, Members of Parliament and KWS senior wardens both at Tsavo and Malindi but their efforts have not borne fruits.
“We have tried to push our leaders, we have visited KWS offices and pleaded with them to bring choppers but they only brought one pick-up of six KWS rangers who could not contain the situation at all,” said Kombe Yaa, one of the village elders at Shakahola.
Adu ward representative Stanley Kenga acknowledged the damage caused by the animals and disclosed that there have been unsuccessful efforts to contain the situation.
Speaking on phone call, he said he has been engaging various concerned government departments but the KWS officers deployed to assist are too few to contain the elephants scattered all over the constituency.
“As we speak, I have had a meeting with the Director General Kenya Wildlife Service at Marine Park Malindi and promised me before the end of the day, there will be a lasting solution,” he said. “We have engaged these people for long, they have not been able to solve this problem so I cannot promise when this will be solved.”
The elders criticized the low response by the government saying their region has been neglected. “We have seen places like Amboseli and Masai Mara choppers chasing elephants away from residential areas but we have not seen those efforts here. We are suffering,” said Samson Zia an elder at Shakahola.
Residents have pleaded with the government to take immediate action to save the situation, and avoid possible animal-human conflicts that may lead to killing of the animals.