Government pays Sh1.2B to victims of wildlife attacks

State department of Wildlife Principal Secretary Prof Fred Segor (C) with Wildlife expert Ali Kaka (L). [Antony Gitonga/Standard]
The government has disbursed Sh1.2 billion in the last five years to compensate victims of human-wildlife conflict, new data shows.

The statistics from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) reveal that Sh569 million has already been used to compensate 163 families whose kin were killed by wildlife.

Figures from KWS indicate that the number of victims killed or injured by animals is rising.

Wildlife Principal Secretary Fred Sigor said funds set for compensating victims of wildlife attacks rose from Sh147 million in 2014-15 to Sh439 million in the 2018-19 financial year.

SEE ALSO :Locals raise alarm over wildlife threat

“Since the community wildlife conservation committee came into force in January 2014, the government had released over Sh1.2 billion towards compensation,” Prof Sigor said.

Claims

He said that between 2014 and 2017, there were 13,125 compensation claims presented to the ministry, with 4,722 being deferred due to lack of relevant documents.

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Sigor said there were an additional 8,478 claims, which included 352 human deaths, presented to the State between June 2017 and November 2019.

“Of these claims, 352 were human deaths, 2,180 were injuries, 2,632 were maimed livestock, 3,152 were crop damages and 162 were on property destroyed,” he said.

SEE ALSO :Hippo, crocodile attack victims cry out for help

Yesterday, the PS opened a conflict compensation claims processing workshop at KWS Training Institute in Naivasha.

Sigor decried the rising cases of human wildlife conflict, noting there was an urgent need to address the issue.

“We have seen the number of wildlife attacks increase sharply in some areas. We need to control this before more lives are lost,” he said.

The PS said that plans were underway to develop insurance covers that will compensate victims.

He added that the government was committed to clearing the current compensation backlog before the end of the year.

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Threat to conservation

“Human-wildlife conflict is the biggest threat to conservation in the country today. This is because a significant population of wildlife thrives outside protected areas,” Sigor said.

KWS Director-General John Waweru said that cases of conflict were fuelled by declining space for wildlife.

He said declining resources, climate change and closure of wildlife corridors has also increased animal attacks on humans.

“We want to ease the process of addressing the issue of compensation for families,” he said.

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human-wildlife conflictKenya Wildlife ServiceWildlife Principal Secretary Fred Sigor