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 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.