Hyena attacks on the rise in Kenya

Thursday February 08 2024

There have been repeated cases of hyena attacks in Kenya. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


There has been rising cases of hyena attacks in Kenya over the past few days, with the reports now being attributed to overpopulation of the wild animals.

According to Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua, hyenas started overpopulating during the dry season last year as they feasted on carcasses of other animals that succumbed to drought.

Addressing the media after he flagged off a recruitment exercise of the National Youth Service (NYS) at the Karisa Maitha Grounds in Kilifi County, Dr Mutua said the hyenas have now become a public nuisance, attacking people in Nairobi, Juja, Machakos, Makueni, Simba Hills, and other places.

“We have many hyenas, and everybody is asking where they are coming from, but many animals in our national parks succumbed to drought including elephants and giraffes and the hyenas feasted on the carcasses and they reproduced a lot,” he said.

Read: Human activity fueling conflict with wildlife

Dr Mutua said the number of hyenas in the country was very high, and they are roaming free in some places of human habitation. He however did not produce figures of the hyena population.


“As a government, we appeal to the public to restrain from walking at night, especially near forests and national parks. Let us do our errands in time to avoid being late since we know there is this problem of the attacks by hyenas,” he said.

Dr Mutua said the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) had received reports on attacks including bodily injuries and deaths.

“We have dispatched a team of officers from Kenya Wildlife Services to search for the hyenas as we continue to sensitise the community on how to live with them,” he said.

However, Dr Mutua said the government has not been compensating victims of wildlife attacks since 2019 due to financial challenges.

Dr Mutua said the government owes the victims of wildlife attacks Ksh7 billion ($43.9 million) for compensation.

Read: Lions kill three children near wildlife reserve

“We have already paid Ksh700 million ($4.39 million), and we have another Ksh950 million ($5.96 million). It will take time because of the financial challenges due to the fluctuating economy. However, as a government, we are committed to ensuring they get justice,” he said.

The Cabinet Secretary also said he had dispatched a team of officers verifying the documents of claimants to the ground to hasten the exercise.

He said the government would give priority to compensating deaths caused by wildlife.

In addition, Dr Mutua called on the people at the Coast region to avoid handshakes to prevent the spread of red eye infections.