KWS moves in to drive out live­stock from Tsavo West

‘Our parks are for wild an­i­mals. Our aim is to re­store the park, which has be­come de­graded in re­cent years due to in­va­sion by pas­toral­ists’

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Coast - MALEMBA MKONGO @malem­ba_mkongo

The Kenya Wildlife Ser­vice on Tues­day be­gan driv­ing out more than 60,000 live­stock from the Tsavo West Na­tional Park.

The ex­er­cise is meant to con­serve the park, which, for years, has turned into a graz­ing field for pas­toral­ists.

As­sis­tant di­rec­tor con­ser­va­tion Julius Chep­tei said they have driven out 13,000 cat­tle since Tues­day.

He said they have ar­rested 19 peo­ple, in­clud­ing seven chil­dren, found graz­ing.

Chep­tei said three Tan­za­ni­ans have also been ar­rested in pos­ses­sion of the re­mains of a dik-dik, a wild an­i­mal whose meat is con­sumed by hu­mans.

“Our parks are for wild an­i­mals, not live­stock. Our aim is to re­store the dig­nity of Tsavo West Park, which has be­come de­graded in re­cent years due to this live­stock men­ace,” Chep­tei said.

Taita Taveta tourism sec­tor op­er­a­tors have com­plained about the the in­va­sion of the park by live­stock, a sit­u­a­tion that un­der­mines ho­tel and lodge op­er­a­tions.

They cited the de­cline in num­bers of tourists, whom they say now pre­fer other parks, such as the Am­boseli, to Tsavo West.

Chep­tei said the prob­lem could be re­solved eas­ily if the re­gion’s elected lead­ers in­ter­vened, in­stead of leav­ing res­i­dents to their own de­vices.

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