In a classic case of guests overstaying their welcome, a group of velvet monkeys in Gatanga, Murang’a county has become such a nuisance the hosts now want them out.
The monkeys, allegedly transported to a nearby forest by unknown people some years back, have not only devastated crops in the fields but also turned into bullies, terrorising women and children. Anastasia Mugure, a resident of Ngangaini village, says women are forced to move around with a weapon to defend themselves in case they encounter the bold primates.
“They are daring enough even to get into the kitchen and take food from the sufuria or any other edibles unless there is a man around,” she said, adding that they have to buy food after the animals destroyed their crops two seasons in a row.
“This area is very productive, but we are afraid that our children might go hungry due to lack of food. We are fed up,” she said. Indeed they are! The residents have now teamed up with the county government in hunting down the unruly guests and repatriate them to their designated enclave.
Sub-county administrator, George Murimi said the county government has facilitated residents with the traps to catch the animals after which they will be taken back to Kiangai forest. He said contrary to rumours on social media, the county is not paying a dime to those involved the exercise saying they are all volunteers.
“The residents approached us for assistance and the only thing we are facilitating them with are the traps and a vehicle to take the animals to designated points,” he said. The administrator says they decided to act on the menace after trying to engage the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) numerous times over the matter in vain.
Paul Ndung’u, a farmer from Kiunyu, said the velvet monkeys have been a menace for too long and applauded the county government effort to eject them from their farms. He said the monkeys have been eating anything they find causing agony to the farmers. “Those who brought the monkeys should take them back because they have caused immeasurable damage in this area,” he said.