Witchcraft talk as bats invade Uhuru Gardens in Mombasa

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An estimated 3,000 bats have invaded Mombasa’s Uhuru Garden that is adjacent to ‘Mapembeni’ – the famous artificial tusks along Moi Avenue.

The National Museums of Kenya (NMK), the owners of the facility, said the number of bats had increased in the last five years.

bats at uhuru gardens
Hundreds of bats hang on trees at Uhuru Garden in Mombasa County. PHOTO: MAARFUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD

“We do not have a solution to this problem. Locals want them removed but that is actually the work of Kenya Wildlife Service,” The Standard quoted the museum’s assistant director in charge of Coast region Athuman Hussein.

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Locals say the bats are a sign of a bad omen and want them removed with a section of the residents associating the flying mammals with witchcraft and sorcery even as officials of the garden note the creatures were a main attraction for foreign tourists.

Every day, tourists watch the bats fly out of the garden at 6.30pm. They return at 5am the next day.

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According to Hassan Yawa, the supervisor of Chenda Investment that maintains the garden, foreign tourists throng the area mostly on Mondays to watch the bats.

“It is a big conflict between the locals and foreign tourists who visit this place. While locals stone them, foreigners marvel and enjoy watching them,” Yawa said.

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He added that guests enjoy taking pictures of the flying creatures while others record them chirping.