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Victims ignorant of compensation procedure

By | September 23rd 2009

By Moses Njagih

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) says most snakebite victims are ignorant of a process of compensation for people harmed by wildlife.

Majority do not report the matters to the right authorities.

The KWS Senior Warden in charge of the Aberdares National Park Bakari Chongwa refuted claims that the victims are denied compensation, saying those that follow the right procedures are eventually compensated.

Mr Bakari says the victim must report the incident to the police and fill in a P3 form that is certified by a medical officer, giving details of the extent of injuries and the gravity of the bite.

These details are then tabled before a valuation of the compensation committee, chaired by the area DC whose members are also a District Wildlife Officer and a medical officer. It is this committee that eventually quantifies the compensation value that is sent to the KWS headquarters and later to the Treasury. Bakari, however, says many of those bitten by snakes are ignorant of this process and do not pursue compensation.

A bit scary

Others do it when it is already too late and filling in their medical reports presents a problem.

Bakari admits that compensation, as currently stipulated in law under the Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Amendment Act of 1989, is a small amount, but says a review of the amounts payable has been proposed under a new Wildlife Bill pending discussion and approval by Parliament. "If passed into law, a victim who dies from injuries sustained from wildlife could get compensation of up to Sh1 million.

As the law stands now, the highest that can be paid in compensation to a family of a deceased person is Sh200,000, while those who survive from the injuries get a much lower amount," he says.

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