09-04-2021 by Leni Frau
At least two families of elephants from Tsavo East and the Galana Conservancy have left the park and reached rural villages in Malindi's hinterland, including the now notorious Chakama, the place where Italian volunteer Silvia Romano was abducted. In Chakama and nearby Shakaola and Adu, the elephants have invaded some fields ready to grow maize during the rainy season and caused damage to other crops, making local farmers anxious.
It's already not an easy time, given the economic crisis that the pandemic is adding to, and having to share a livelihood with the largest mammals around is the final blow.
On the one hand, the Kenya Wildlife Service is already working to identify the families and try to bring them back into the park and reserve. So far, however, the attempts do not seem to have borne the desired fruit.
On Adu's farms, the elephants have also destroyed banana groves and pounced on coconut palms. Residents report that they start to move when it gets dark, around 6 pm.
Residents have asked for helicopters and joint forces to intervene, as happens in reserves such as the Maasai Mara or Amboseli, also to avoid that some landowners or groups of residents, in order to protect their cultivated fields, may harm them and that poachers, with more freedom being outside the protected areas, have time to take advantage of the situation.
The case in the Malindi hinterland is not the only one recorded in recent days: in the Taita and Taveta hills herds of elephants have also escaped from the Tsavo West park and attacked crops.
Various associations are working to monitor their activity and try to prevent them from destroying important crops. Taita and Taveta are production areas for vegetables and other greens that are also sold in Mombasa and on the coast.
Fighting against poaching and the international ivory ban are yielding their fruits: in three years the number of elephants in Kenya has increased almost 15 percent (14.7 for precision).
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