Antelopes invade maize farms in Nandi County
Written by Shillah Mwadosho
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Farmers living around Kingwal swamp in Nandi County are counting losses after Sitatunga antelopes invaded their maize farms and fed on their crops.
About 200 antelopes that are under threat of extinction have invaded maize farms and fed on the crops this week.
The angry farmers led by their spokesman David Tum complained that tens of acres of their maize farms had been invaded and crops eaten by antelopes yet Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) was doing nothing to stop it even after they were informed.
He said that after floods ruined the habitat of the semi-aquatic antelopes, they had taken refuge in farms around the area and were bringing losses to farmers by feeding on their crops at night.
He said, “The antelopes feed on the soft maize buds which consequently inhibit further growth of maize. KWS should take action before complete losses befall on farmers.”
Tum blamed KWS of doing nothing to control the antelopes.
“The antelopes continue to feed on crops yet KWS continue to delay taking action,” he said.
But Toret Moi Conservationist group official Elphas Kimego complained that the residents had started killing the animals.
Kimego who was speaking in Kapsabet said that the antelopes had taken refuge near homes of residents who in turn took advantage to kill them for meat.
“We have received reports that some antelopes have been killed and slaughtered by some residents,” he said.
Contacted for comment, KWS Nandi County warden John Kanda confirmed that he had received complaints from the farmers about antelopes that had invaded their farms and fed on their crops.
He explained that KWS would fence part of Kingwal swamp and drive the antelopes there to be restricted from invading the farms.
He further explained that the animals usually feed on the buds of reeds and since they had been flooded they had to seek an alternative by feeding on maize.
“Floods are natural phenomena that we cannot control but we shall ensure that the antelopes are driven away from the farms before the end of this week,” he told Westfm on telephone.
However, Kanda denied claims that the antelopes were being killed saying they were “misleading and unnecessarily alarming” adding that there was no proof that such criminal action had been done by residents.
“The residents are the ones who are taking good care of the animals and they usually inform us of anything that happens.”