The government will use Sh530 million to compensate victims of human-wildlife conflicts across the country in the 2021/22 financial year.
Tourism and Wildlife Principal Secretary Prof Fred Segor said the amount will be used to compensate victims who were either killed or injured by wild animals as a sign of compassion and to ensure that people do not avenge attacks by killing the animals.
“This is the first phase of our compensation and in the subsequent part, we will disburse payments to cover crop destruction. The government already has disbursed Sh2.4 billion as compensation in the last four years and we are waiting for approval from the national Treasury and parliament to expedite the payments that form the bulk of our backlog, which is over 700 active cases and some are in court,” he said.
"We are yet to pay for claims since 2017 and individuals affected by the wild animals. Plans are on course to dispense off the matter."
Speaking in Tot, Kerio Valley during the launch of human-wildlife conflict compensation payments, the PS said the policy formulated in 2018, which expunged snake bites as a form of a wild animal attack, are under review.
“The policy is undergoing review and there is ongoing public participation and if Kenyans want snakes to be included as a form of wild animal attacks, the government will listen to the need,” he said.
Prof Segor said water provision to the wild animals will be put in place to mitigate the incidences of the wild animals encroaching homes searching for the commodity.
“Water provision mechanisms for this semi-arid area and other regions will also be factored (in) to mitigate the incidents of animals searching for water. We are also calling on the county governments to ensure all health facilities in snake-infested areas have anti-venom to reduce human fatalities as a result of snake attacks,” he said.
Tourism and Wildlife Chief Administrative Secretary Joseph Boinett who launched the exercise said there is a proposal to insure human-wildlife conflict cases to ensure swift disbursement of claims.
“We still have a backlog of claims dating back to 2014 and this should not be the case if there was an insurer handling the same. This is where we are headed to ensure the victims get their benefits swiftly,” said the CAS.
Victims of human-wildlife conflicts in Elgeyo Marakwet received Sh28.5 million in compensation.
There were 560 compensation claims reported with 111 of them being injuries and death.
He called on locals to establish wildlife conservancies as a way of mitigating conflicts and also to ensure they have income from tourism.
“Animals are safe in the parks unlike when they maraud and one of the ways of taming conflict is through the setting up of conservancies especially on wildlife migratory paths,” said Mr Boinett.
In June, 50 victims of human-wildlife conflicts in Baringo County received Sh29.7 million for the first phase of the claims in the county.
During the event, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala announced that the government has spent more than Sh2 billion for compensation of deaths and destruction of crops by wild animals from 2013 to 2017.
According to the CS, after the current law was constituted in 2013, compensation had not been carried out until 2019 due to lack of funding.
Currently, the CS said, the government needs Sh3.1 billion to clear the outstanding arrears.
“We have spent more than Sh2 billion for compensation of human-wildlife conflicts since 2013 to 2017 and we still need another outstanding compensation Sh3.1 billion but has not been budgeted for yet,” said Mr Balala when he launched the payments in Baringo.