DEALT WITH POACHING, FORGOT LIVESTOCK INVASION
Cheptei said the KWS had previously concentrated on ending poaching but lost track of pastoralists invading the park. “Poaching has declined by 80 per cent. We now focus on this livestock menace. We had focused on poaching and did not realise livestock were coming in,” he said. According to the KWS, livestock are brought in from neighbouring county Kajiado and Tanzania,which borders Kenya on the Taveta side. Cheptei said the problem was fuelled by Taita Taveta residents, who welcomed the pastoral communities by leasing out their private ranches to them. He said the livestock were driven into the park after the private ranches were overwhelmed and failed to cater for the ever-increasing numbers of animals being brought in by the “visitors”. Cheptei said the problem is worsened by the fact that Taita Taveta is the only county “free from any animal disease”, hence preferred by many pastoralists.