Over the years, the human-wildlife conflict has been a perennial debate in Kenya, especially with the exploding human population. In most cases, the conflict usually exists when animals encroach on human territory. This conflict has brought in a new threat of bushmeat hunting.
Along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway, bushmeat dealers have invaded the wildlife territory. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) notes that Kikopey along the Naivasha-Nakuru highway is among the hot spots for game meat.
The increasing human population, in addition to factors like poverty, unemployment, prolonged drought, and uncontrolled access to forest wildlife, has fuelled the trade of game meat in various wildlife restricted and non-restricted areas.
In an exclusive revelation to Hivisasa, it was revealed that residents surrounding the KWS restricted areas along this route have resorted to using crude means in hunting and killing the animals for bushmeat.
Hivisasa’s investigation reveals that individuals involved in the bushmeat trade are using snares and other traps to capture the animals within the conservancy. The most affected animals include giraffes, zebras, eland, impala, and hartebeests.
KWS warns that bushmeat hunting has been identified as the most dangerous, illegal activity to wildlife conservation and management in the country. The service has in the past declared that the demand for bushmeat to supply commercial consumption is insatiable.
''Consumption of bushmeat is a public health risk since the meat is not inspected. Zoonotic diseases such as Ebola and anthrax are linked to wild animals,'' a statement from KWS Corporate Communication department reads.
Curbing the hunting and sale of bushmeat is an uphill task since it requires multifaceted approaches that entail understanding bushmeat dynamics, intensifying patrols, policy framework, education and alternative livelihoods to local communities engaged in bushmeat trading.