Unpaid claims for wildlife victims rise to Sh2.6bn


Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers capture a stray lion on October 28, 2018, in Ngata area. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NMG

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) owes victims of human-wildlife conflict Sh2.6 billion in unpaid compensation claims.

Out of these arrears, only Sh606 million has been budgeted for by KWS in the next financial year meaning many victims of human-wildlife conflict will have to wait longer for the State compensation.

This was revealed by Parliament which decried the deficit in allocation is likely to condemn more victims to a longer wait.

“The verified and approved human-wildlife conflict pending claims that are likely to be carried forward to the financial year 2022/23 amount to Sh2.579 billion. However only Sh606 million has been provided to settle these claims in the financial year 2022/23,” said Parliament.

“Therefore close to Sh1.9 billion will be carried forward to the next financial year without including additional cases that will be verified and approved in the financial year 2022/23.”

A compensation of Sh5 million is paid to the next of kin in cases of human death after verification.

Parliament’s Department Committee on Environmental and Natural Resources noted that some of the pending bills are for cases that date as far back as the financial year 2017/2018.

Victims have, in the past decried the slow compensation process by the KWS.

Victims are compensated for Crop destruction, livestock predation (where livestock is attacked and killed by wildlife), human injury and human death.

Between 2017 and 2020, more than 380 Kenyans died after being attacked by wild animals, while 2,080 were left nursing various injuries, according to KWS statistics.

KWS data shows that baboons and monkeys make up the leading causes of human-wildlife conflict in the country with a majority of the incidences being reported coming from areas where people depend on crop growing and livestock keeping for livelihood.

Consequently, the government has stepped up measures to resolve these conflicts by strengthening and equipping Problem Animal Control (PAC) teams with necessary resources to ensure swift response when cases are reported.

Other remedies include the establishment of conservancies to act as buffer zones between people and wildlife and encouraging communities to have watchtowers to guard their farms.

Currently, over 16 conservancies have been established in Maasai Mara National Reserve.

The KWS is also considering collaring and tracking problematic animals in collaboration with other stakeholders and translocating them to avert deaths and destruction of property.

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