By Wanjohi Gakio
A female elephant was yesterday killed by suspected illegal herders at Laikipia Nature Conservancy.
The herders from Baringo, Samburu and Isiolo counties have invaded the private ranch in search of pasture and water.
Conservancy director Kuki Gallman said the herders were revenging on her efforts to drive them away as they are destroying the wildlife habitat.
"These grazers with more than 30,000 cows are armed with firearms, arrows and spears. They are attracted by the flourishing grass and the abundant water in the conservancy, but their number is unsustainable and I cannot accommodate them," she said.
Gallman said the elephant ran, staggered and collapsed on the side of a track, breaking one of the tusks.
It was found soon after by the ranch security driver and Kenya Wildlife Service rangers who were on patrol, and removed the tusks.
It was killed at Kiboko dam in Ol Ari Nyiro area, and is believed to have been shot with a poisoned spear or arrow, Gallman said.
However, tissue samples have been taken for examination to establish the exact cause of death. It is the second elephant to be killed in the conservancy this year.
The first one was killed in July with a poisoned spear on the Laikipia and Baringo border. Its tusks were removed by poachers and the carcass mutilated.
Gallman said in March, herders damaged fences and set other structures in the conservancy, including buildings, stores and their contents on fire.
"Malicious arson and recent fires that incinerated thousands of acres, and the resulting erosion and environmental destruction is devastating and leads to a loss of millions of shillings," she said.