Wildlife on highways attack, cause accidents

KWS says there's nothing they can do, ranches fenced.

In Summary

• The number of persons attacked by animals on the rise. Wildlife corridors blocked, ranches fenced.

• KWS officers say there's little they can do; nearby sanctuaries include Soysambu and Maru.


Accident scene. Wild animals cause accidents as wildlife corridorsnear Nairobi-Nakuru highway and Naivasha-Mai Mahiu road.
WILDLIFE ACCIDENTS: Accident scene. Wild animals cause accidents as wildlife corridorsnear Nairobi-Nakuru highway and Naivasha-Mai Mahiu road.

The number of wild animals straying along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway and Naivasha-Mai Mahiu road have risen sharply in three months posing a threat to motorists.

The increase is caused by closure of wildlife migration corridors and fencing of ranches. 

Sometimes vehicles collide with animals; sometimes drivers swerve to avoid them, causing accidents.

Motorists and others have applied to the Kenya Wildlife Service to take action before lives are lost. KWS says there's nothing they can do.

A family on their way to Nakuru narrowly escaped death narrowly near the Gilgil weighbridge after hitting a zebra that was crossing the road.

The problem is attributed to an increase in the number of animals against limited pastures, forcing them to migrate across the roads.

Francis Muthui, chairman of the Friends of Lake Naivasha, said the recent fencing of several ranches along the road had contributed to the crisis.

He said it was common to spot zebras, buffaloes, warthogs and baboons along the road.

“There is urgent need for KWS to work with nearby ranches and game sanctuaries to see how this menace will be addressed before we lose lives,” Muthui sad.

Muthui said the majority of wildlife within Naivasha were outside Hells Gate and Longonot National Parks, leading to the problem.

“We have private ranches in Naivasha and Gilgil but they cannot handle the high number of the animals and this has been worsened by closure of wildlife corridors,” he said.

A regular driver, John Wambugu, said it has become the norm to find carcasses of wild animals lying on certain sections of road.

Chairman of Lake Naivasha Boat Owners Association David Kilo said that carnage was the same along Naivasha-Mai Mahiu and Moi South Lake roads.

He said the number of wildlife seeking pasture on the two roads had continued to increase, with hippos and zebras been the most common.

“Two weeks ago a trailer heading to Uganda hit and killed a hippo near Kihoto estate and it’s by the grace of God that no one was injured,” he said.

Kilo noted that the riparian land around the lake had been fenced off leading to a shortage of pasture for wild animals.

“We have also seen wildlife corridors around the lake blocked by investors and this has pushed the animals to the highways leading to an increase in road accidents,” he said.

(Edited by V. Graham)