Drought pushes human-wildlife conflict claims by victims to Sh2.6 billion

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A herd of elephants invade a farm. Photo | courtesy

The government has said it is developing a compensation insurance scheme for human-wildlife conflict whose claims stand at Sh2.6 billion in the current financial year.

Wildlife Principal Secretary Silvia Museiya said the compensation has been prioritized by the State Department for Wildlife.

“Human-Wildlife conflict is at the top of my list of priorities. I have to think through how to pay victims of wildlife death, injuries, predation, and crop destruction because this is money that goes directly to the common mwananchi (hustler),” Museiya said.

“We are developing an insurance scheme because it does not need to take 10 years for a victim to be compensated. You realize that we have a huge pending bill.”

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She projected the compensation to rise attributed to the spike in human-wildlife conflict following the prolonged drought that has driven wildlife from the parks in search of water and pasture.

“We have to find innovative ways to clear this huge compensation claim. We have no resources to clear it and hence we must find money,” she said.

The Treasury allocated Sh600 million to the State Department for wildlife to pay compensation to victims in the current financial year.

“The verified and approved human-wildlife conflict pending claims that are likely to be carried forward to the financial year 2022/23 amount to Sh2.579 billion. However only Sh606 million has been provided to settle these claims in the financial year 2022/23,” said Parliament.

“Therefore, close to Sh1.9 billion will be carried forward to the next financial year without including additional cases that will be verified and approved in the financial year 2023/24.”

Victims have, in the past, decried the slow compensation process by the KWS.

Victims are compensated for crop destruction, livestock predation (where livestock is attacked and killed by wildlife), human injury, and human death.

A compensation of Sh5 million is paid to the next of kin in cases of human death after verification.

KWS statistics reveal that between 2017 and 2020, more than 380 Kenyans died after being attacked by wild animals, while 2,080 were left nursing various injuries.

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