School in Machakos introduces hyena lessons to ensure their safety

Parents with their children walk home during Baraka Preparatory School closing day. Photo: Anne Arango

In a proactive move to address wildlife encounters, a school in Joska along Kangundo Road in Machakos County has introduced hyena lessons to sensitise students on avoiding potential risks associated with these animals.

The initiative comes after several reported incidents of hyena sightings near school premises and on the roads raising concerns about student safety.

Chrispine Oluoch, manager Baraka Preparatory School told Education News that due to closeness to Ol-donyo Sabuk National Park residents have been counting loses caused by human-wildlife conflict.

He narrated of an incident that happened last year where a pupil was mauled by a hyena while heading to school.

“These cases prompted us to begin such lessons because there are not many schools around thus students walk long distance to reach the school. The parents are forced to escort their children to school even the big ones in Grade eight,” said Oluoch.

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He observed that the school administration, in collaboration with local wildlife experts, has developed a curriculum that includes practical tips on how to identify hyena habitats, understand their behaviour, and take appropriate precautions when encountering them. Students are also taught how to respond calmly and responsibly in case of a hyena sighting.

Baraka Preparatory School is located at Joska, Machakos County. Photo: Anne Arango

“By incorporating hyena lessons into our curriculum, we are equipping our students with valuable knowledge that can potentially save lives and prevent conflicts with wildlife,” he stated.

The lessons include interactive sessions, videos, and field trips to nearby conservation areas where students can observe hyenas in their natural habitat under safe conditions. Additionally, experts are invited to conduct workshops and demonstrations to further enhance students’ understanding of wildlife conservation and safety measures.

Parents and guardians have expressed support for the initiative, highlighting the need for such educational programmes to instill a sense of responsibility and respect for wildlife from a young age.

“These animals are so many and just last week they feasted on over ten goats and sheep, so it’s crucial for our children to learn how to coexist harmoniously with wildlife while ensuring their own safety,” a parent commented.

The school’s proactive approach in addressing wildlife-related challenges sets a positive example for other institutions and underscores the importance of education in promoting conservation and safety within local communities.

Through these hyena lessons, students not only gain valuable knowledge but also contribute to creating a safer environment for themselves and wildlife in Joska.

By Agnes Orang’o

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