By now, you’ve likely seen the notice to Murang’a University of Technology (MUT) students to avoid the institution as KWS conducts a monkey shooting exercise.
The notice, signed by the institution’s chief security officer Mr Kimotho, informed the students to stay away as live bullets would be used.
“The exercise will involve firing of life (sic) bullets which may cause fear and panic,” the notice, whose ref was “Shooting of Monkeys”, read in part.
The notice was understood by many to mean that the exercise would involve shooting dead the monkeys. This resulted in an uproar online as netizens demanded answers from the Kenya Wildlife Service.
But KWS spokesperson Paul Gathitu Masela has said that the “shooting of monkeys” notice was a miscommunication by the university.
He confirmed that the exercise is ongoing but it does not involve the massacre of the primates.
“They called in about the disturbance and we advised them to inform the students of the exercise that involve shooting in the air to scare away the monkeys. It is usually our first intervention which if it fails we then capture and relocate the monkeys,” Masela told Nairobi News.
He explained that the university was to notify students that there would be friendly fire.
“We needed the institution just to advise that it was friendly fire for managing the situation and scare away the monkeys and possibly capture and relocate them if the warden advises on that as the next move. The operation is still ongoing and the warden will be giving information to us on whether they are still there and if there is need for relocation,” said Masela.
Murang’a County had declared an all-out war against the marauding animals and launched a programme dubbed ‘Tafuta Tumbili’.
“We had to reach out to the county government and explain that it is our mandate and that we were willing and able to assist without the capture becoming commercialized and turning into a money making venture,” Masela added.