KWS DEFENDS DEATHS

Baringo residents want warden charged with killing two jumbos

Sinente villagers in Mogotio say they have always lived in harmony with elephants

Residents of Ng’arie in Mochongoi, Baringo, watch a five-month-old elephant calf whose mother was killed by KWS officers at Sinente in Mogotio on September 1
Image by JOSEPH KANGOGO
In Summary

• The killing saw an innocent five-month-old calf orphaned and flown to an unknown destination.

• KWS officers claim the stray Jumbos charged towards them, prompting the shooting.

Five-month-old elephant calf whose mother was killed by KWS officers at Sinente in Mogotio on September 1
Five-month-old elephant calf whose mother was killed by KWS officers at Sinente in Mogotio on September 1
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Residents of Sinente in Mogotio, Baringo, share an elephant carcase on September 7
Residents of Sinente in Mogotio, Baringo, share an elephant carcase on September 7
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Five-month-old elephant calf whose mother was killed by KWS officers at Sinente in Mogotio on September 1
Five-month-old elephant calf whose mother was killed by KWS officers at Sinente in Mogotio on September 1
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Residents of Ngarie in Mochongoi, Baringo, help an orphaned elephant calf into a chopper on September 1
Residents of Ngarie in Mochongoi, Baringo, help an orphaned elephant calf into a chopper on September 1
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

Residents of Sinente village in Mogotio, Baringo, want legal action taken against the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer who killed two elephants on September 1.

They claim the warden, who has yet to be identified, appeared drunk when he shot elephants and killed the two, a mother and her daughter, on the spot. Her five-month-old calf survived, among other elephants.

“The sudden death of the breastfeeding jumbo left behind an orphaned innocent five-month-old calf,” village elder William Kibon told the Star yesterday.

 
 

The elephants that survived the shooting carried the young one for more than 30km before dropping it in O’lorebel forest, Mochongoi.

“They left it there and the residents spotted and collected it on September 7, bringing it to Ng’arie Primary School in Mochongoi, where an unidentified white man later landed in a private chopper accompanied by a uniformed KWS officer to airlift the toddler elephant to Nairobi,” Kibon said.

Last week, KWS Central Rift Conservancy assistant director Aggrey Maumo said the group of 21 elephants had strayed onto farms.“While assisting to drive them away, they charged at our officers so they chose to shoot them to save their lives,” he said, adding that they had launched investigations.

But Kibon dismissed the claims that the animals had strayed and were destroying crops.

“The area of the incident is a quiet bush without a single farm. We have coexisted well with the elephants since they migrated three years ago from an encroached Marmanet forest in Mochongoi,” he said.

He said the jumbos’ lives were threatened after people invaded their natural habitats.

Kibon said they had proposed to the government to fence more than 10,000 acres of idle land in Sinente, Kisanana ward, to protect and conserve the harmless animals. His sentiments were backed by fellow village elders Chelimo Chepsergon, Johana Mursoi and Paul Chepsoi.

 
 
 

Despite the uproar, however, residents had the nerve to feast on the carcasses. They said the orphaned calf was transported to an unknown destination.

“Firstly, we would want to see the officer who killed the elephants arrested and prosecuted. Secondly, we want to be told where exactly the calf was taken,” Mzee Mursoi said.

Baringo deputy KWS warden David Cheruiyot declined to comment because he was in a meeting. "I am currently busy in a meeting. I will call you later," he said.

He did not call and later attempts to reach him failed as he did not return calls. 

A lobby also wants the killer warden probed and prosecuted. Gilbert Wildlife Trust to KWS head of communications Paul Udoto to shed more light to Kenyans on the “shameful incident”.

“At no given time have the residents of Mogotio complained about the resurgence of stray elephants. Who called up the KWS officers to act haphazardly?” director Gilbert Kiptalam asked.

“It is also prudent to take legal action against whoever did the heinous act because every citizen is entitled to conserving nature and probably Kenya’s heritage.”

Kiptalam said besides laying traps to catch illegal poachers, the state must also put up stringent measures to conserve and protect the rights of the wild animals.

(Edited by F'Orieny)