Attacks by hippos and crocodiles have increased sharply recently around Lake Naivasha and the Lake Victoria region calling the attention of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) over the emerging human-wildlife crisis around the water points.
Report says a man was mauled to death at central landing beach on the shores of Lake Naivasha as he tried to catch some fish, bringing to eight, the number of people killed by the marauding animals since January.
On May 9, KWS management put the official figure at six, but two others have been killed since then and several others seriously injured. Seasoned lake operator and Boat Owners Association chairman David Kilo put the number of those mauled by the nocturnal animals at 20.
“We have so many unreported cases and at least one person is being attacked each week with some of them suffering permanent injuries,” he revealed.
Among the latest victims of the hippo attacks are Nelson Wekesa and James Ndirangu who were mauled on May 14 as they went about their fishing at Kasarani area in the northern part of the lake.
“Unfortunately, Ndirangu never survived, while Mr Wekesa is nursing life threatening injuries,” said local youth leader Joseph Kajesh.
Pushed to the wall by the hard economic times due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, youth have flocked Lake Naivasha in an effort to earn a living. With an increasing number of idle and jobless youth, some have ventured into fishing without the necessary skills to navigate the dangerous waters and the end results have been catastrophic.
“We have unlicensed fishermen flocking the lake in numbers. For now, it appears to be their only source of livelihood despite the inherent dangers,” said Mr Kilo.
“This is the highest number of people killed by hippos in a span of a few days and the situation, if left unchecked, could worsen,” he added.