NYAHURURU, Kenya, Sept 30 – Nyahururu town residents were on Tuesday treated to a rare spectacle after an elephant and a hippo got stuck in River Ewaso Nyiro as they searched for scarce water due to the prevailing drought.
The wild animals were said to have got stuck in the river on Monday night as they sought water and pasture.
“The animals got stuck due to low water levels and the drying up of the river which supplies water to the famous Thompson falls,” a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) official said.
KWS security personnel spent the better part of Tuesday trying to rescue the animals as residents demanded that the animals be killed.
“How can they try to rescue the animals while we have not fed on meat for months?” asked a resident.
At one time, police officers were forced to fire teargas canisters to disperse the crowd which had ran out of control.
KWS officials led by Senior Director in charge of the Mountain Conservation Barasa Otungah and area doctor Stephen Chege led operations to rescue the animals.
The animals had to be pulled from the mud using two tractors from the Nyahururu Municipal Council as the locals protested.
Nyahururu KWS branch Senior Warden Dominic Kilonzo said: “The animals are now being forced to move from the Thompson falls forest and get water from the river. This has been due to the prevailing draught in the region,” he said.
The locals have expressed concern that they are now living in fear of being attacked by the animals which roam freely at night.
“We no longer move around at night due to the presence of these dangerous animals. The government should address this issue once and for all,” said Benson Maina, a resident.
But the KWS officials said that they had beefed up patrols along Manguo estate and the environs.
Five moths ago, another hippo got stuck in the same river but was saved from the public who were planning to kill it for meat by KWS officials.