Wakhungu to answer queries on wildlife menace in Taveta
Kenya Wildlife Service rangers harass residents found at the periphery of the Tsavo West National Park, while illegal herders freely graze inside – Mwatate MP Mwadime
Environment CS Judi Wakhungu will appear before the National Assembly Environment Committee today to respond to a petition by Mwatate residents concerning illegal grazing in the Tsavo West National Park.
She will also answer queries on the perennial human-wildlife conflict in Taita Taveta county.
Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime yesterday told the Star on the phone a meeting was held by the committee last week. “We also want her [Wakhungu] to order KWS rangers to stop torturing residents and instead protect them from marauding wildlife,” he said.
Mwadime accused rangers of harassing residents found at the periphery of the Tsavo West National Park, “while illegal herders freely graze inside the park”.
He said the harassment has caused a sour relationship between residents and the KWS. Leaders have complained the park has been turned into a big ranch by illegal herders from Northeastern.
Mwadime said livestock have invaded the park, displacing wildlife that have moved to villages.
“The grazers in the park are a security threat to our people and the wildlife,” he told the Environment Committee last week.
Wakhungu will be asked to name the owners of livestock. There has been speculation the livestock belongs to MPs, a High Court judge and other senior government officials. Mwadime urged the KWS to pay school fees for children in the region.
“Our people are bitter because they are languishing in poverty caused by wildlife invading their farms. They work very hard but the elephants take away all their food,” he said.
“The government should consider giving scholarships to our children because wildlife has made them poor.”
Cattle graze at the Tsavo National Park on May 27, 2015. Environment CS Judi Wakhungu is expected to appear before Parliament today