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  1. ITV Report

Conservationist Kuki Gallman shot by cattle herders in Kenya

Italian-born author Kuki Gallmann Credit: Kuki Gallmann/Facebook

An Italian-born author and conservationist was shot at her Kenyan ranch by cattle herders, officials said Sunday.

Kuki Gallmann, known for her bestselling book "I Dreamed of Africa", was ambushed and shot in the the stomach, police said.

The 73-year-old was with rangers on her way to assess damage to her property after arsonists had burned down a retreat on her land.

She was driven to an airport and airlifted to hospital.

Ms Gallmann's daughter says her mother is able to speak despite the shooting.

Violence has surged because of a drought, which has affected half the country and been declared a national disaster.

Many cattle herders involved in the violence are searching for pasture to save animals from drought and there have been conflicts over grazing land in which more than 30 people have died.

Kenya's military and police have been working to disarm and drive the hundreds of herders and their animals out of ranches they've invaded, but their actions appear to have escalated the violence.

When the military and police drive herders from one ranch they move into another, the farmers' association said.

Tristan Voorspuy was shot dead by armed intruders who invaded his ranch in Kenya Credit: Offbeat Safaris

The land invasions started late last year.

British national and ranch owner Tristan Voorspuywas killed last month when he went to inspect damage done by the herders on one of his lodges.

Martin Evans, head of the Laikipia Farmers' Association, said: "Dozens of people have been killed or wounded and subjected to robbery and vandalism of their property.

"Kuki is a world-famous author and conservationist - but the LFA urges sympathy for all."

Many of the ranches, some of which double as wildlife conservancies, were acquired during the period of British colonial rule, some as early as 1900, according to a government report. Others were purchased after Kenya became independent in 1963.

The Foreign Office advises travellers to "check the latest situation" as it notes "the central county of Laikipia has seen numerous invasions by cattle herders onto privately held ranches and conservancies, in some cases leading to violence and arson".