The Star (Nairobi)

23 November 2012

Kenya: Monkeys Destroy Crops in Wundanyi

Farmers in Taita have threatened to poison thousands of monkeys that have destroyed their crops. The monkeys have invaded farms and destroyed maize, banana, cassava among other food crops in Wundanyi constituency.

The farmers said the monkeys, which look bigger and more daring than the ones they are used to in the region, were first spotted in the region last year where destroyed crops, especially maize.

"We cannot allow the monkeys to make us beggars when we can produce sufficient food for ourselves. We shall kill them if they are not removed from our farms," said a farmer in Shigharo area who did not want to be named.

The farmers the monkeys have been moved to the region by the Kenya Wildlife Service, the allegations KWS has vehemently denied. "Our role as a conservation body is to ensure people are protected from wildlife attacks and also protect the wildlife from encroaching human settlement areas," said a KWS official in the area.

Areas invaded by the monkeys are Wundanyi and Mbale locations where the farmers lament that their hopes of harvesting this season are minimal due to the monkey invasion.

"The monkeys are to blame for the food shortage that we face here.They destroy the maize immediately they start forming cobs," said Defence Wughanga whose one acre maize farm has been destroyed by the monkeys.

The farmers have now appealed to the relevant government body to ensure the monkeys are removed from their farms. Human wildlife conflict has been rife in the region which borders the Tsavo conservation area. Wildlife that has been in consistent conflict with the people in the region include elephants, buffaloes, leopards and baboons.

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