School In Hyena Infested Area In Machakos Introduces Lessons On Hyena

As schools close for first term, parents of Kaseveni in Malaa, Machakos County are relieved that their children will no longer have to face frequent hyena attack scares when going to and back from school.

The area, known for marauding hyenas due to its closeness to the Oldonyo Sabuk game reserve and several hideouts has seen residents living in fear and counting losses from attacks on their livestock by the animals.

Led by Julius Hoho, a parent, the residents said the closure of schools has come at a good time as they will no longer have to fear for their children.

Over the years, the parents have had to escort their children to and back from school having to walk for about six kilometers to the nearby school, for fear that the animals might ambush and attack their children.

‘We wake up as early as 4am and before we get to school, it is around 7am. Children too get home around 8pm and have to brave the animals on their way back. It is such a scare,’ said Huto.

Luckily for the parents, an investor recentl
y constructed a new school, the Baraka Halali Primary, a big relieve to the children and parents who will now be spared the long walk to their former school.

Speaking during the commissioning of the school Monday, the administrator Chrisphine Oluoch said other schools are several kilometers away, and this has over the year’s inconvenienced learners.

He said the animals have forced the school to adjust learning hours, forcing them to release learners early to enable those from far flung areas to get home before darkness.

He added that they have also introduced lessons about hyenas to the children so that they can understand more about them.

‘We took the initiative after learning that many children could not differentiate between hyenas and dogs to enable them understand how they look like, how to avoid attacks and what to do when they face them,’ said Oluoch.

Despite the residents’ predicament, little has been done to compensate them from the losses that they incurred from the attacks.

‘Anyone who has li
ved in this area has a story about a hyena attack on their livestock and also relatives. The animals come in large numbers and some are big and dangerous. We have fought them but it seems they can’t go away. We now have to learn how to live with them,’ said Grace Ireri, another parent.

They at the same time took issue with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for failure to compensate them despite the huge loses they have faced from the animals.

‘Just last week, the hyenas mauled to death over 10 goats and several sheep. Late last year, a learner was mauled to death by the animals. Most of the residents know nothing about the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS),’ said Ireri. .

Source: Kenya News Agency