Sunday, 3rd December 2017, Kitui. By Brian Peter
Residents of Nuu Ward in Mwingi Central Sub-County are counting huge losses and greatly concerned for their safety. This is after a cackle of hyenas has invaded their villages. This group of marauding hyenas, which numbers close to a dozen, has been terrorizing several villages in the ward for months now; with the worst hit being Nguuni Village.
According to Nguuni Village Administrator, Mr Daniel Muli; these wanton hyenas wandered into their village in March this year, and have been getting bolder with every new day. The origin of these scavengers still remains a mystery but one thing that is so evident is the trail of livestock attacks and trepidation they’ve left behind in those months. In November alone, according to the statistics given by the village administrator, the hyenas mauled five donkeys, over 10 cows, and an uncountable number of goats.
In 21st November, Kalwilaa village, Nuu Ward, Mr. Mwendwa Musembi, woke up to the disemboweled carcasses of his five cows and four goats, the only source of livelihood he had. Another man from the neighboring Kawelu village lost four of his goats to the same hyenas the very next morning. The Nguuni Village Administrator also lost eight goats to the scavengers in August this year. None of the numerous affected villagers are reported to have received any compensation for their losses to date, despite their filling claims with the Kenya Wildlife Services.
Besides the rising concern for the safety of their livestock, the villagers now live in great fear for their lives and those of their school-going children. The hyenas have got bolder with time and they are reported to have attacked and mauled a cow in broad daylight in Nguuni Village two days ago!
All the attempts by the locals to plead with KWS officers to intervene and contain the hyenas had born no fruits by the time of going to press. The residents are demanding a quick solution to this menace from both the county and national governments, and have threatened to take the matter into their own hands if this cackle of marauding hyenas is not cleared from their settlements and the affected persons fully compensated.
“It is becoming extremely difficult with each day to quell the villagers’ anger and to convince them not to hunt down and kill the hyenas,” disclosed the Nguuni Village Admin, Mr. Muli. “If our local leaders don’t take this urgent matter with the seriousness it deserves, the hyenas will soon start attacking humans I won’t be able to protect the hyenas’ killing by the villagers.”
The human-wildlife conflict in Kitui County is becoming increasingly rampant in recent years; with Mwingi Central, Mwingi West, Kitui East, Kitui South, and Kitui Rural constituencies topping the list of the most frequent cases.
Hyenas are timid nocturnal scavengers by nature, mostly preferring to eat left-overs and rotting carcasses to hunting live prey; but have been reported to attack human and domestic animals when the food becomes scarce.