A herd of Kenyan elephants responsible for the destruction of property and agriculture in Narok village has been transported 100 kilometers south of the town to the relief of local villagers.
Rangers have begun relocating 50 of the original 200 beasts in an effort to prevent an escalation of the conflict that has seen thousands of residents d.i.e and damaged crops.
The Kenya Wildlife Service revealed a 10-day operation to relocate the group would cost 31 million shillings (£201,000) to move them to a new reserve in the Maasai Mara.
Julius Kipngetich, Director of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), revealed the extent of the disturbances for locals said, ‘Narok is one of the top-rated areas of human-wildlife conflict and the move to relocate the elephants will ease the conflict.
‘The elephants have been stuck in this area for 20 years due to human resettlement and cannot reach Mara, and hence the decision to relocate them.’
Many residents welcomed the move after the d.ea.ths of tens of thousands of people, while repeated crop destruction exceeded thousands of shillings.
Teacher Simon Turana Esho, 32, was gored by an elephant while on a night watch at her wheat farm, breaking her ankle fracture and groin in.ju.ry.
He said villagers had resorted to cutting down trees to deprive the elephants of habitat.
‘We are clearing all the bushes to minimize the movement of the elephants. It is better to live in the desert and lose your life. ‘
Meanwhile, Napolos Esho, whose corn harvest was heavily damaged by elephants, said locals had no measures to prevent elephant attacks, as ki.lli.ng them led to prosecution.
‘We have no way to stop them. We have had problems with elephants for many years. We try to chase them from our farms, but we just let them eat all the crops if they don’t go. ‘
Another resident, Nasale Sholoi, revealed the tragic loss of her sons, who were ki.lle.d by aggressive elephants.
She said: ‘The elephants have given us many sleepless nights and we hope they will all be moved because we no longer see their need.
‘We lost our sons after they were ki.ll.ed by elephants.’
If the operation is successful for the first 50 animals, KWS plans to move 200 of them.
In the past decade, according to the wildlife agency, elephants have been responsible for more than 50% of the 9,299 cases of human-wildlife conflict in the Narok region.