Laikipia herdsmen invade park, kill wild animals [PHOTOS]

Sad day for Kenya's wildlife

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laikipia raid_zebra
One of the animals recently killed by suspected Pokot bandits during raids on conservancies in Laikipia county. PHOTO: THE STAR

Several wild animals were mercilessly killed after suspected Pokot herdsmen raided Mugie conservancy and other parts of Laikipa.

The incident happened on the night of Monday, January 9, and also saw militias who were armed to the teeth set fires to farms as they drove vast herds of cattle into the private 49,000-acre conservancy.

The attackers used guns as well as other crude weapons including spears, arrows and rungus against workers and guards. A daily newspaper reported that at least one staff member was shot in the attack.

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laikipia raid_elephantIt is said violence broke out after Pokot gunmen opened fire at Kenya Wildlife Service rangers who were patrolling a section of the the vast conservancy.

Overpowered, KWS rangers and Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) retreated from the huge assault which resembled recent attacks on other farms and conservancies across Laikipia, which residents have blamed on politicians.

The recent invasion of Laikipia’s conservancies have led to the killing of hundreds of wild animals some of which are among Kenya’s protected species.

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laikipia raid_gazelleLaikipia county is home to the biggest wildlife population outside Kenya’s national parks and reserves, more than 6,000 elephants and other animals including lions and the rare Grevy’s zebra reside there.

It also has the richest biodiversity of large mammals anywhere in Kenya other than the Maasai Mara.

laikipia raid_giraffeMugie conservancy, where the recent incident happened, used to keep rhinos but had to relocate them due to poaching. It is said to be among the most valuable wildlife areas in the country.

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Invaders in search of greener pastures continue to cause fear as they also drive their animals into people’s farms.

Residents said the invaders are armed with lethal weapons and forcefully take their animals to farms where they destroy crops.

laikipia raid_hyenaGreedy Pokot and Samburu politicians are accused of wanting to seize vast lands for themselves and drive out genuine owners.

Residents also blame the government for failing to take action to end the increasing violence.