• The three invaded human settled areas
• Experts believe the area they trekked was once their corridor which has since been blocked by human settlements
Three elephants that had strayed from Mosiro sanctuary in Kajiado County have been moved to the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
On Sunday, Kenya Wildlife Service rangers battled to move them from settlement areas.
Paul Jinaro, KWS acting Head of Corporate Communications said on Tuesday that the three jumbos had been tranquillized before being moved.
"KWS capture team has now successfully released them into the reserve and are grazing calmly after regaining consciousness from the tranquillizer which was administered to facilitate the movement," Jinaro said in a statement.
Jinaro said their movements will be monitored via satellite GPS after one of them was fitted with a tracking device.
Following the straying, the jumbos were sighted in Tuala, Rongau and Kitengela areas, forcing the service to deploy a chopper to track them.
There were no reported cases of destruction caused by jumbos.
Jinaro said the three elephants were initially from Maasai Mara.
"Our scientists in Maasai Mara have been trying to contain them but they came all the way," he said.
He said attempts to drive them back using a chopper through Mosiro, which is the border of Narok and Kajiado had failed, forcing the service to translocate them.
Janaro said Maasai Mara is ideal as it is a protected area.
KWS has requested members of the public to use their toll-free number 0800597000 to report where the elephants have been sighted.
Jinaro said the area where the three passed through is part of their dispersal areas and migratory corridors.
Jumbos, according to studies, are among the smartest wildlife as they do not forget their migratory routes.
A report detailing wildlife migratory corridors and dispersal areas in Kenya that was unveiled in July 2017 showed that most of them have been blocked.
This is because as the population grows, people encroach on wildlife dispersal areas.
Fifty-eight migratory routes and corridors were identified in the report.
These are the southern Kenya rangeland ecosystems — Maasai-Mara ecosystem ( 17 ), Eburu Forest and Lakes Naivasha-Elmentaita-Nakuru conservation and ecological area (eight), Athi-Kaputiei and Nairobi National Park (seven), South Rift (eight), Amboseli and West Kilimanjaro (eight) and the Tsavo Conservation Area ( 10 ).
The report noted that there was growing evidence of escalating wildlife loss in Kenya, with a drastic decline of wildlife populations between 1977 and 2013 –on average by 67 per cent.
The declines have been attributed to rapid growth in human population and associated pressures on resources (land-use change, infrastructure development, and poaching), institutional and market failures, impacts of climate change and variability, and lack of development in the rangelands.
Several interventions have been suggested for averting and reducing wildlife declines, notably through securing dispersal areas and migratory corridors, strengthening and investing in local communities and landowners to create and develop community and private wildlife conservancies, and diversification of rural livelihoods through benefiting from ecosystem services, among others.
"The protected areas are increasingly becoming isolated and surrounded by settlements, agriculture and high livestock densities, as the human population continues to grow, and demand for agricultural land shifts along rainfall gradients in drylands or rangelands," the report said.
Furthermore, sedentarisation is now common among pastoral communities that have been forced to change their lifestyle from nomadism to permanent settlements, with associated changes in grazing patterns and a shift to crop cultivation.
The report said the rapid decline of wildlife populations and the increase in human-wildlife conflicts over the past few decades are attributed to loss or fragmentation of habitats and are driven by human population pressure and anthropogenic activities.
The Athi-Kaputiei Plains for instance which are the traditional home of the Kaputiei Maasai pastoralists who depend on livestock keeping has been sub-divided into plots.
Located to the south of Nairobi National Park, the plains provide acritical wet season dispersal range for some of the parks wildlife species.
The plains extend across the largely commercial ranching enterprises of Machakos County in the east, via the gently descending Emarti valley to the Amboseli National Park in the south.
"Recently, large parts of the plains have undergone land sub-division and have been converted to high-density settlements by urban dwellers who have purchased residential plots," the report said.
It said the emergence of commercial industries, including cement manufacturing, horticulture, steelworks, and an export processing zone, has led to a huge influx of immigrant workers, resulting in the rapid growth of subsidiary towns such as Athi River, Kitengela, and Machakos that are near Nairobi city.