What you need to know:
- They are also angered by what they term as KWS unfairly associating them with with poaching experienced in the area.
- The residents said they were disappointed by the association of the community with poaching even after the park took away more than 10 square kilometers of their land.
- The sentiments from Taita residents come at a time when KWS is facing a huge challenge of dealing with rampant poaching in its parks.
Residents of Taita Taveta want the Kenya Wildlife Service disbanded for what they claim is failure to properly carry out its mandate.
They are also angered by what they term as KWS unfairly associating them with with poaching experienced in the area.
They said the problem being experienced in the parks was a creation of KWS who cut deals with livestock traders from northern parts of the country and allow them to graze in the facility.
Led by the Taita Taveta Human Rights Watch chairman Mr Haji Mwakio, the residents said they were disappointed by the association of the community with poaching even after the park took away more than 10 square kilometers of their land.
“We have been protecting the animals from time immemorial until recent years when corrupt officers from KWS started cutting deals with livestock traders to allow them access the park to graze huge numbers of livestock,” he said.
This comes a few days after one of senior KWS officers was quoted saying that the community bordering the park and ranch owners were involved in the killing of six elephants last week.
Mr Mwakio said KWS was one of the major beneficiaries of public and donor funds intended to help it discharge its role of protecting animals and the entire ecosystem from intruders but had failed to properly do so.
These people are not doing as expected of them. Instead of appreciating the generosity of the community they implicate them in wildlife crimes.
We are calling for the disbandment of KWS since they have failed in their mandate. They should give back the land they got from the community,” he said.
Mr Mwakio said that some poachers were well known by the KWS management and pointing an accusing finger at the community was an insult.
He said the fact that hundreds of cattle could graze and water at Mzima Springs deep inside the Tsavo West National Park then that showed failure on the part of the KWS management and not the community.
The entire park, he claimed, was now littered with livestock from outside the county while locals were arrested and charged in court for trespass whenever they approached the park.
“We want KWS disbanded and the entire management sent home for failing to protect the parks and our animals as per their oath of office,” he said.
The sentiments from Taita residents come at a time when KWS is facing a huge challenge of dealing with rampant poaching in its parks.
Last week, poachers killed six elephants in Dawida Ranch near Tsavo East National Park in Taita Taveta County.