Police officers based at the Maragua Police Station in Murang’a county are having to make do with thousands of bats that have set camp at the base.
Efforts by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the cop themselves, and locals to flush them out have proved futile.
KWS officers have shot at them with bullets, officers at the station have tear-gassed the bats and locals have lit bonfires to smoke them out as they scream at them, but the flying mammals have stayed put.
“We will liaise with the department that specialises in bird control. Maybe they will give us tips, though bats fall under the category of strange animals,” Murang’a County Chief Warden Laurence Chege said, adding that the invasion requires more research to find a solution.
The bat invasion has also left locals speculating; “I have heard some residents accuse some of us serving at the station of being the owners of these bars. They say that they are there to protect some of us through mystic powers,” an officer said.
Another officer lamented: “Besides the high-pitched noise that these bats make, they litter our compound with droppings. We do not hang our clothes out in the open to dry after laundry owing to the droppings.”
Murang’a South police boss Alexander Shikondi added that they don’t know “why these animals chose us to be the host”.
“We have advised our officers to find [a way of living] with the menace as we shop for a solution. It is encouraging to see KWS partner with us in search of a solution, but, unfortunately, so far we are still stuck with them,” he said.
Murang’a Deputy County Commissioner Gitonga Murungi said a local committee will be formed to find a solution.
“It is a neighbourhood crisis and we must own it. We will now brainstorm with stakeholders and table options … Together, we will find that missing solution,” he said.
Gitonga added that “we will first start by pruning some of the trees that they perch on. They use the branches and the leaves as their habitation. We are also cognizant of animal rights and we will get a solution that meets the threshold”.