Furious Residents of Chakama in Kilifi County have pleaded the government to provide lasting solution to mitigate extreme climate change effects that has contributed to Wildlife invading their homes and destroying their crops.
Long term changes in rainfall and temperature patterns over the past 2 years in Kilifi county have negatively affected habitat quality thereby causing wildlife to seek refuge in nearby human habitats in search for water and pasture.
Large Herbivores like Elephants and hippopotamus who are highly vulnerable to climate change have given the residents a final blow not only destroying their crops but also threatening their lives.
The residents have pleaded with the government and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for the longest time to come to their aid by offering a lasting solution to the root problem, climate change.
Led by Chakama Irrigation Project Farmers Chairman, Solomon Mubashiri said their efforts to fight drought in the region are barred by the destructive elephants who have already injured 4 of the farmers over the past two weeks.
62-year-old Chengo Tayari a farmer at Kanduru area in Chakama location decried that sometimes they are driven by anger to chase the groups of elephants invading their space while risking their lives never to be compensated by any one.
“All our lives we have lived here ,done farming ,got education here. This area is for human settlement and not for animals as claimed. More than four former chiefs recognize this area as human settlement. Elephants are really disturbing us. There are allegations that NEMA claims this area is animal grounds.Elephants destroy our crops and we can’t compete with them.”Tayari remarked.
The victims directed the blame to the Kenya Wildlife Service mentioning that the government entity has neglected their cries giving no justice to farmers whose crops are frequently damaged by wild animals which they should be in charge of.
Following claims by NEMA that Kanduru area is a wild life zone the area ex-chief Macdonald Mwaringa however clarified the jurisdiction and distribution of sublocations in Chakama.
He added that places owned by human beings are led by human leaders such as chiefs and not dominated by animals as it is currently.
“Makogeni and Kisiki sub location are the most affected as they border with Tsavo national park .Chakama is not wildlife area as claimed. We are affected by wild animals and have really tried to deal with wild animals. People are fearing to do farming in this area due to damage from wild animals.”Mwaringa noted.
The prolonged droughts in Kilifi that has declined growth to vegetation depriving the forests rainfall that provide the keystone species with drinking water and reproductive cues.
The only source of water to Chakama residents, River Sabaki also go dry due to extreme climate changes that has been experienced in Kilifi county.
Residents sometimes go without water and when they get luckier, they are forced to consume dirty water in their households, posing risky waterborne diseases to their health.
While settling rage amongst the residents at Kanduru area in Chakama ward, the area assistant county commissioner Daniel Tausi assured the residents that the security department in the region will collaborate with them to solve the issue.
Kilifi county metrological department director Getrude Leshampta said that arid areas of Kilifi such as Magarini, Ganze experienced very short rains which came late leading to crops failure while misguiding the migration patterns of the heavy mammals which are highly sensitive to extreme climate changes.
Coast Development Authority(CDA) Projects manager for technical services William Fondo said that the project team has received the challenges the residents are facing from wildlife invasion and will work around the clock to ensure the issue is settled.
Speaking to the media on phone record, Kenya Wildlife Service senior warden Jane Gitau disputed claims thrown to them by Chakama residents saying that Chakama was in the first place a ranch and that the residents do not have the tittle deeds to the land ownership.
However, she said that already plans are underway to compensate only those injured by the wildlife but not the destroyed crops.
Chakama is the same location that the Italian Volunteer Silvia Romano was abducted in 2021.