Locals of Katakala area in Narok North sub-county hold demsontrations along Narok-Bomet road protesting over rampant donkey thefts and bizarre killing and skinning of donkeys in the area by unknown people.PHOTO:ROBERT KIPLAGAT.
Residents of Narok North sub-county yesterday protested against increasing donkey theft.
The demonstrators, mostly women, marched along the Narok-Bomet road carrying placards. They said they had lost 120 donkeys, adding that the high demand for donkey products in Asia was fuelling the vice.
The demonstration came barely a week after 10 skinned donkey carcasses were found. Their ears and tails were missing.
“Since I was born over 50 years ago, I have never imagined anyone killing and skinning a donkey. We have lost donkeys, which are our only source of livelihood. What is shocking is that they only take the hide. This could be witchcraft,” said Jane Seuri, a local resident
A donkey skin is said to fetch up to Sh30, 000 on the black market.
Mr Paul Maina lost four donkeys, which he used to transport water to sell water at Katakala trading centre.
“I used to make between Sh2, 000 and Sh2, 500 per day selling water to hotels in this centre. I have been forced to switch off my phone as my wife, who is in North Kinangop, has been calling me requesting for money for school fees and maintenance but I have nothing to tell her as I have no source of income,” Maina said.
Mr Joseph Aliaulo, the Farming Systems Kenya chief executive officer, said: “According to the 2009 census, there were about 1.8 million donkeys. But the numbers have dropped alarmingly since the opening of the Goldox donkey slaughterhouse in Mogotio and Naivasha.”
He said donkey skin has a special protein that is rumoured to be used to make Chinese herbal medicine to treat erectile dysfunction.
Aliaulo said due to the long gestation period of donkeys, the current rate of slaughter, if left unchecked, will see them get extinct in the next 10 years.
“Goldox slaughters about 150 donkeys, Naivasha 100 and 50 are being killed illegally on a daily basis. This trend is a real threat to donkeys in Kenya and the government must do something about it,” he said.
Area police boss Innocentus Mutua, who addressed the residents, pledged to investigate the matter and asked the people to volunteer information to help police stop the thefts.
Elsewhere, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers yesterday arrested two people and recovered more than 600kg of game meat at Ewaso Ngiro in Narok South sub-county.
KWS Deputy Warden Francis Muchiri said the two were caught transporting the illegal consignment on a motorcycle at around 2am.
“The two were on their second trip to the bushes to fetch more meat while a pick-up waited on the main road,”said Muchiri. As the the game meat, which was packed in six sacks, was offloaded, the driver of the vehicle managed to escape.
Muchiri said police suspect that the game could be eland meat and that officers were searching for the hooves and skins to ascertain the type of animal the poachers had killed.