Kenya warns of spike in human-wildlife conflicts amid dry spell

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-22 20:19:33|Editor: mym
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NAIROBI, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- A dry spell in many parts of Kenya has triggered a surge in human-wildlife conflicts, authorities warned on Friday.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said in a statement that hostilities between human population and wild animals are currently on the increase due to competition for scarce water and green pasture in this dry season.

"We wish to notify the public 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," said KWS.

"This has increased conflict as the wildlife comes into contact with the public and human activities," it added.

Kenya's dry season that stretches from January to late March when the long rains season commences, is always marked by crop failure, drying of water sources and forest fires.

The latest forecast from Kenya Meteorological Department indicates that the country will experience a dry spell until mid-March when the rains are expected in many parts of the country.

Kenya's arid and semi-arid region that is home to the bulk of wildlife sanctuaries has borne the brunt of a prolonged dry spell that has in turn worsened conflicts between pastoralists, farmers and wild animals.

"KWS wishes to inform the public that as the dry spell progresses, the risk of human wildlife conflict is expected to increase until the country receives long rains," said KWS.

The agency revealed that seven arid and semi-arid counties including Narok, Taita Taveta, Laikipia, Kajiado, Meru, Marsabit and Lamu have experienced a spike in human wildlife conflicts.

At the same time, the Mount Kenya and Mau water towers are becoming theaters of conflict between wild animals and farmers due to acute drought.

KWS said it had enhanced surveillance to ensure communities living in drought hotspots are protected from attack by wildlife.

"Foot, vehicle and aerial patrols have been intensified to manage the situation," said KWS while warning communities against setting fire close to wildlife sanctuaries to avert an escalation of conflict with wild animals.