Residents of Iyani village in Mwala Sub County are now living in fear after suspected stray leopards mauled five of their goats over the weekend.
The incident which has baffled the residents brings to eight the number of livestock killed by wild animals within the last three months.
Area Chief Charles Mwaniki who spoke to KNA at the home of one of the farmers who is the latest victim of the attacks says among the animals killed includes a calf.
Mwaniki, who was speaking at the residence of Danile Maseya Nzioki said the residents are now worried that the rogue canines may resort to attacking children unless something is done urgently.
“We are now worried lot going with the frequencies in which animals are being killed in broad daylight. The latest attacks both took place at 2 pm and 5 pm respectively, which is something to be of concern to anybody,” Chief Mwaniki said, as Kenya Wildlife Service officers were assessing the situation on the ground.
An eye-witness who identified himself as Paul Ngei Nzaku said he stumbled on the leopards as he was going to harvest sand at a nearby dry river bed at around5 pm Sunday evening.
He said at first, he thought they were donkeys lying near the footpath but on closer examination he noticed they were leopards with two of their cubs.
He also noticed carcasses of his neighbours’ two goats scattered near the area where they had earlier been tethered by the owner.
“I was on my way to the sand pit at around 5 pm when I noticed the two leopards. When they noticed me they casually rose, sauntered into the thickets before disappearing under the thick foliage hovering over the sand pit,” he said.
Machakos County deputy Warden Musyoki Mutua who led in carrying out the assessment of the damage said KWS would bait the marauding canines as it was the only safe option to trap the animal.
He further called upon the local administration to hold frequent public barazas and educate the residents on the need of reporting such cases to relevant authorities to avoid unnecessary loss of livestock especially during the ongoing drought.
He however assured the affected family that the government will do everything to ensure they were compensated once an assessment report on incident is complete.“As we look into the compensation claims of the affected family, it is prudent for residents to be cautious on the threat posed by straying wild animals, which may at times attack school children,” he said.
“Meanwhile Chiefs should hold frequent barazas where members of the public should be sensitised on the need to promptly report such attacks and to ensure action is taken immediately,” he added.
He has however ruled out any possibility of more animals invading human settlement saying the incident is an isolated one.