Fear has gripped Kajiado Central Sub County after an elephant succumbed to pangs of drought as residents worry about their livestock.
Residents of Olepolos village woke up to a shock on Saturday when they discovered a dead elephant, which later Kenya Wildlife Services officials confirmed the cause of death as hunger and old age.
County KWS Senior Warden, Muteru Njauuini, told the Star, the elephant died due to lack of water, and old age.
Njauuini said it is a common feature in parts of the county to find wild animals’ carcasses following a prolonged drought that has seen most of the water wells and springs dry up.
“The drought has also dried up plantation eaten by elephants and other herbivorous animals, which has forced them to move to residential areas in search of water and grass,” said Njauuini.
He said there is also an increased human/wildlife conflict around residential areas that border national parks and reserves because of the drought.
About one week ago, the Star reported a case of a leopard in Bissil area that attacked five people and injured four of them seriously after it had killed three goats.
The KWS official said predators are also forced to leave the parks in search of antelopes that have moved to open fields in search of grazing areas, and in the process end up eating unprotected livestock.
Njauuini said the rules on compensation for eaten livestock is that residents are supposed to fence off where their cows, goats and sheep sleep. He said there should prove that they were eaten in a protected area.
“We have severally warned the local people that once their livestock is eaten by predators, they should report the matter to us instead of fighting the beasts,” he added.
While the KWS is worried that the drought is taking a toll on their animals, residents in the county are also more worried about the fate of their livestock.
Olepolos residents are now appealing to the county government to sink more boreholes in their area because the open water pans have been taken over by wild animals.
Elder Paul Siloma said the current drought situation requires heavenly intervention.
Kenyan gazers who used to cross over to Tanzania during the drought in the country fear arrest and confiscation of their livestock in the neighbouring country.
The Tanzanian government has banned cross-border grazing of livestock and has clearly indicated that any Kenyan livestock found in that country would be confiscated and auctioned.
Reports reaching Kajiado indicates some parts of Tanzania have received sufficient rainfall, but because of restrictions, Kenyan livestock cannot cross over.
Kenyan and Tanzanian livestock herders have been collaborating for many generations until after President John Magufuli took over power and came up with strict legislation on movement of livestock across international borders.
President Magufuli argues that his government is spending millions of shillings in tackling livestock diseases and yet Kenyan Maasai cross over with infected animals.
Meanwhile, a major river, Ewuaso Ng’iro, which flows through Kajiado West Sub County from Narok County to Lake Natron in Tanzania is reported to be on the brink of drying up.
Area deputy county commissioner, William Kakimoni, on Saturday said water situation in the entire Sub County is dire and that if no rains come soon, there would a major problem with the people and their livestock.