CS Mutua: Attacks on the rise due to hyena overpopulation

The government has claimed that the rising cases of hyena attacks on citizens is caused by overpopulation of the animals.

According to Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua, hyenas started overpopulating during the dry season last year as they feasted on carcasses of other animals that succumbed to droughts.

Addressing the press after he flagged off the recruitment exercise of the National Youth Service at the Karisa Maitha Grounds in Kilifi town, Dr Mutua said the hyenas have now become a public nuisance, attacking people in Nairobi, Juja, Machakos, Makueni, Simba Hills, and other places.

“We have many hyenas and everybody is asking where they are coming from, but many animals in our national parks succumbed to drought including elephants and giraffes and the hyenas feasted on the carcasses and they reproduced a lot,” he said.

Dr Mutua said the number of hyenas in the country was very high, and they are roaming even in the villages. He however did not produce figures of hyena population.

“As a government, we appeal to the public to restrain from walking at night, especially those around forests and national parks. Let us do our errands in time to avoid being late since we know there is this problem of the attacks by hyenas,” he said.

He said Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) had received reports on attacks including bodily injuries and deaths.

“We have dispatched a team of officers from Kenya Wildlife Services to search for the hyenas as we continue to sensitise the community on how to live with them,” he said.

However, Dr Mutua said the government has not been compensating victims of wildlife attacks since 2019 due to financial challenges.

Dr Mutua said the government owes the victims of wildlife attacks Sh7 billion for compensation.

“We have already paid Sh700 million, and we have another Sh950 million. It will take time because of the financial challenges due to the fluctuating economy. However, as a government, we are committed to ensuring they get justice,” he added.

The Tourism Cabinet Secretary said he had dispatched a team of officers verifying the documents of claimants to the ground to hasten the exercise.

He said the government would give priority to compensating deaths caused by wildlife.

In addition, Dr Mutua called on the people at the Coast region to avoid handshakes to prevent the spread of red eye infections.

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