Efforts to conserve wildlife are being dealt a severe blow by the unending human-wildlife conflict and poaching.
The Kenya Wildlife Service says it loses between 100 and 2,000 lions annually due to growing human settlements, increasing farming, climate change and disease. It also says the number of lions has been diminishing at an alarming rate. For example, in 2002, Kenya had 2,749 lions, but the number dropped to 2,280 in 2004 and now it is estimated there are 2,000.
Fresh in our minds is the killing two months ago of six lion cubs in Kitengela by Maasai pastoralists.
The pastoralists have time and again complained that the law as it is favours wildlife and sets hefty fines for animals killed and paltry amounts for human deaths or injuries.
The unending human-wildlife conflict is worrying because it has a major negative effect on tourism. Wildlife is a key component of tourism, a major foreign exchange earner.
The Bill provides better avenues for resolving the human-wildlife conflict in and around conservation areas.
While there is consensus that the overall wildlife management needs a rethink of strategies to protect the tourism industry, the first step towards resolving the problem should start with the tabling of the Bill.
While Wildlife minister Noah Wekesa has defended his ministry over the delay saying he had cleared the proposed laws for onward transmission to Parliament by the Ministry of Finance, the responsibility of ensuring it gets to the House lies squarely on his ministry.