KWS in new move to stem human, wildlife conflict
Posted Tuesday, June 26 2012 at 20:24
The Kenya Wildlife Service has put forward a comprehensive insurance package to protect farmers from losses arising from wildlife attacks.
The proposal, contained in the wildlife Bill now before Parliament, could in the long-term ease tension between conservation and human activities.
The conflict reached a crisis point last week when morans killed six lions in Kitengela, 40 kilometres South West of Nairobi after straying from the Nairobi National Park into a boma and killing livestock.
KWS corporate communications manager Paul Udoto said the current policy does not provide for compensation of crops and livestock destroyed by wildlife. However, loss of human life and injuries are compensated.
“Once the Bill is approved, the communities will start receiving comprehensive compensation. Loss of lives and property without compensation makes conservation unsustainable,” Mr Udoto said.
A similar policy that covered the property of colonial settlers was terminated in 1987 following complaints that it was being abused. Mr Udoto said that KWS would also set up a forensic laboratory to establish the origin of animal trophies such as elephant tusks in a bid to curb poaching.
Kenya loses substantial revenue through poaching of wild animals, a treasure that supports tourism which is the country’s second most important revenue earner after tea.
“A ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a forensic laboratory will soon be held,” he said.
Mr Arthur Mahasi, a conservation consultant, said that protecting migration corridors and rolling out comprehensive insurance covers for private property might bring a lasting solution to the human-wildlife conflict.
“Such conflicts will not end easily.
This problem started with the sub-division of land on wildlife migration corridors,” he said.
Besides Nairobi National Park which covers the Kitengela, Konza, Kajiado and Tsavo eco-system, other affected areas are the Aberdare Range and Mt Kenya where wildlife normally migrate downhill during cold seasons for breeding purposes.
In Laikipia, wildlife wander into settlements as they search for salt supplements. Mr Mahasi said threatening communities with arrest for killing wildlife would only aggravate the situation.
“You cannot succeed in managing wildlife using guns and stiff laws.
The people will turn to poisoning the animals,” he said. Proposal before House calls for comprehensive insurance package for farmers