Governor Joseph Ole Lenku is urging the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) to immediately release the suspects involved in the killing of six lions in Imbirrikani. While recognizing the importance of wildlife in the country’s tourism industry, Lenku asserts that it is unacceptable for these animals to invade farms and harm both livestock and people.
The incident in Imbirrikani, where the lions were killed for attacking livestock, highlights the frustration and sense of neglect felt by the local community. Lenku emphasizes that the people are growing increasingly impatient with the constant wildlife attacks and demands the release of all five individuals who were arrested in connection with the incident.
These statements were made by Governor Lenku after a meeting with Peninah Malonza, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, in Imbirrikani on Sunday. Malonza held a consultative community meeting, which involved elected leaders from the Kajiado South subcounty and KWS officials, to investigate the matter thoroughly.
Governor Lenku looks forward to the complete implementation of resolutions aimed at resolving the human-wildlife conflict and ensuring that all pending compensations are paid out. Malonza, on her part, has called for a thorough investigation into the lion killings.
The residents, who have been experiencing ongoing destruction caused by wild animals, have urged the government to implement measures that will protect their farms and livestock enclosures. In response, KWS has assured the community that they will work collaboratively to find long-term solutions to these conflicts.
Emphasizing the commitment to safeguarding Kenya’s wildlife and preserving it as an integral part of the country’s heritage, Malonza encourages everyone to cooperate in fostering a peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife. However, the Ministry of Tourism advises residents against taking matters into their own hands and instead urges them to involve KWS whenever there is a problem.
The World Wide Fund for Nature Kenya (WWF-Kenya) has expressed deep concern over the unprecedented killing of the lions and called for urgent intervention. They warn that if these conflicts persist, Kenya may face the risk of lion extinction. Yussuf Wato, the Biodiversity, Research, and Innovation Programme Manager at WWF-Kenya, describes the human-lion conflict as a crisis that threatens both people’s lives and livelihoods, as well as the already declining lion population.
The latest wildlife census conducted in 2021 estimated that Kenya is home to around 2,500 lions. Wato emphasizes the need for immediate and decisive action to prevent the extinction of lions in Kenya within this generation. He asserts that there is an urgent requirement for a radical shift in human-wildlife conflict interventions and the scaling up of mitigation measures.