Travellers along one of Kenya’s busiest highways have been warned not to give alcohol to baboons, it is reported.
The Kenya Wildlife Service says it is “irresponsible and careless” to offer intoxicating drinks to the primates, The Nation newspaper reports. “Liquor has the same effect in animals as on human beings,” says the service’s director, William Kibet Kiprono. “They might become violent, or distract road users, causing accidents. They might also start fighting people and cause death if unchecked.”
He was speaking in Naivasha, a town on a motorway linking the city of Nakuru with Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The area is sandwiched between several nature reserves, where wildlife abounds. It is not clear how common it is for people to give alcohol to monkeys, but up to 7,000 baboons are believed to live outside nature reserves. Kenya’s NTV television says the busy highway is “under siege by groups of marauding baboons”.
Meanwhile, locals have been complaining about the nuisance tipsy animals are causing. “They eat our goats, and we have been unable to plant food for the last three years,” one farmer tells The Nation. Another villager adds: “We chase 20 monkeys every night. They enter our kitchens and steal food.”