What you need to know:
- Environmentalist James Wakibia wants Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala to intervene and have the power lines relocated.
Conservationists have raised the alarm over the electrocution of giraffes and raptors at the Soysambu Conservancy in Nakuru County.
In two years, at least 11 giraffes and dozens of birds of prey have been electrocuted at the conservancy by sagging Kenya Power cables.
Ms Kerry Outram, conservationist within the conservancy, on Sunday said giraffes and birds have been dying from electrocution since 2019 when the power lines were installed.
" At least 11 giraffes including the endangered Rothschild's giraffes, get electrocuted and die because of the sagging electricity lines. These lines are dangerous for the tallest terrestrial mammal,” stated Ms Outram.
"This is why we have been pushing for wildlife corridors. It is very important for areas to be set aside and recognised as wildlife corridors. Reactionary responses after wild animals die are always too late and don't stop these mistakes.”
The latest incident happened on Sunday afternoon, when three giraffes were electrocuted at the conservancy, with rangers blaming “low lying electricity lines and the unprofessionally installed electricity distribution systems hanging from nearby poles”.
"This is just one of the many examples where important development projects are done with little or no consideration for the environment. This narrative should change and there should be a balance between wildlife conservation and development projects," stated Ms Outram.
“Worse than poaching”
Environmentalist James Wakibia wants Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala to intervene and have the power lines relocated.
"I call upon the CS and the Kenya Wildlife Services to swiftly intervene and ensure the power lines are relocated from the wildlife corridors. It is very unfortunate that we continue losing wildlife because of encroachment of animal corridors,” said Mr Wakibia.
The Nation established that at least six of the giraffes that have died from electrocution are the endangered Rothschild's species.
Conservationist Patrick Prince said, "This is worse than poaching and if it's determined that some contractor surveyed the area and, with the knowledge that it is a wildlife conservancy, decided to install low hanging power lines, Kenya Power must be held accountable and must explain what happened.”
Kenya Power’s comment
Reached for comment, Kenya Power’s Nakuru County Business Manager Henry Pwani said: “ The incident is highly regretted. We have isolated the affected portion to avoid recurrence. We will make necessary modifications to ensure safety of animals.”
However, he did not explain why the company has not acted for the past two years.
Conservationists have piled pressure on Kenya Power to explain the matter.
Contacted, the newly posted Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) boss, Mr Edward Njuguna, promised to give more information on the matter on Monday.
"I am new at the station. Once briefed I will issue a comprehensive statement,” he said.
Soysambu Conservancy currently hosts approximately 124 giraffes, among them about 50 male, 41 female and 33 young ones.
Recently, some of the endangered Rothschild’s giraffes were relocated from Ruko conservancy in Baringo to Soysambu.
The main types of giraffes at the Soysambu Conservancy are Nubian and the endangered Rothschild's giraffes.