PS Silvia Museiya: We’ll set up insurance scheme for wildlife victims

Silvia Museiya

PS Wildlife Silvia Museiya. The wildlife ministry is developing an insurance scheme to compensate victims of human-wildlife conflict, with claims currently at Sh5.7 billion.

Photo credit: Diana Ngila|Nation Media Group

The wildlife ministry is developing an insurance scheme to compensate victims of human-wildlife conflict, with claims currently at Sh5.7 billion.

This is as compensation claims from victims of human-wildlife conflicts in various parts of the country continue to pile up.

According to Wildlife Principal Secretary Silvia Museiya, the scheme will help to ensure that human-wildlife conflict victims are promptly compensated.

However, the government will first clear the current compensation claims before rolling out the insurance scheme, said Ms Museiya.

“Payment of compensation tops key priorities set by President William Ruto for the State De-partment for Wildlife. The scheme is part of the measures that the government is planning to roll out to make sure that residents, especially those living in parts of the country neighbouring game parks and animal reserves, are promptly compensated in case they get any challenges from wild-life,” said the PS.

Ms Museiya revealed that her department has already received Sh1 billion to start compensating victims in an exercise starting this week.

To curb the conflicts, the PS said that the department has also been allocated funds to drill bore-holes to ease access to water for wild animals.

“This will help reduce the competition of water between humans and wildlife. As people will have their water while animals will have their own water that will be made available inside con-servancies and reserves,” she said adding that this was the first time water for wildlife was being included in the budget.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Penina Malonza said that concerted efforts by all stakeholders were necessary to address the rising cases of human-wildlife conflicts.

Local leaders who had accompanied the two during a public engagement forum at Kiraini-ini vil-lage in Karaba area, Laikipia West, called for the fencing off of forests as a stopgap measure to the conflicts.

Governor Joshua Irungu, Senator John Kinyua and a host of MCAs from the county lamented that wild animals in many parts of the county have caused deaths and injuries to people and left a trail of crops and property destruction. They called for the establishment of conservancies to act as buffer zones between people and wildlife and encouraged locals to have watchtowers.

Ms Malonza challenged residents to embrace economic activities that would benefit them while also helping to conserve and protect wildlife. She told them to take up beekeeping on the edges of the forests as bees help to keep off elephants while the locals earn from honey.

The CS also urged ranchers and private conservancies owners to fence off their properties to ensure that wild animals do stray into residents’ farms. She added that the government plans to raise taxes for ranchers to help boost the wildlife kitty.

“Through this, the government will get extra money for environmental conservation and human-wildlife conflict compensation,” she said.