Human, wildlife conflicts leave 787 dead in 3 years
Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah
Some 787 people were killed by wild animals between March 2014 and 2017, a report presented to the National Assembly has established.
The report says that 465 of the families have been compensated by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) after thorough vetting.
Research by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife shows that, for example, Kitui reported the highest number with 53 cases, although only 41 were compensated followed by Kajiado and Narok with 45 and 41 deaths respectively.
According to the report, Kajiado (31) while 22 others received compensation in Samburu; same applies to Taita Taveta (22).
Other counties with high incidences of deaths include Makueni (23), Wajir (21), Tana River (21), Mandera (17) and Kilifi (17).
The report further indicates that a total of 738 compensation claims were launched in Narok, which has also been considered another hot spot for human-wildlife conflict, between 2014 and 2019. During the period, 51 deaths and 155 injuries were reported.
As from 2014 to date, 24 compensation claims for human death have been paid, in Narok County translating to Sh120 million, says the report.
A compensation of Sh5 million is paid to the next of kin by KWS after verification.
“All human death claims deliberated and approved for payment by Ministerial Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committee (MWCCC) have been processed and paid,” the ministry said in response to a question raised by Narok Women Rep Roselinda Soipan.
Report highlighted livestock predation, human threats caused by mostly hyenas and lions and crop destruction by elephants as the key issues fanning human-wildlife conflict in Narok County.
Some 344 cases of livestock killed were also reported translating to 47 per cent of the total reported cases while crop destruction stands at 186.
Report shows that baboons and monkeys are the leading causes of human-wildlife conflict in the country with majority of the incidences being reported coming from areas where people depend on crop growing and livestock keeping for livelihood.
For instance, in the last two years, Taita Taveta County has reported 2, 717 cases—the highest in the country—followed by Kajiado (1, 550) and Narok, 659. Kisii and Kitale reported the least with only one case during the period.
“Over the years, residents have suffered huge losses occasioned by wildlife that raids their farms, destroying crops, preying on livestock and threatening lives; injuring and killing members of the public,” says the report presented to the National Assembly Committee Environment and Natural Resources.
Consequently, the government has stepped up measures to resolve these conflicts by strengthening and equipping Problem Animal Control (PAC) teams with necessary resources to ensure swift response when cases are reported.
Other remedies include establishment of conservancies to act as buffer zones between people and wildlife and encouraging communities to have watch towers to guard their farms.
Currently, 16 conservancies have been established in Maasai Mara National Reserve.
The KWS is also considering collaring and tracking of problematic animals in collaboration with other stakeholders and translocating them to avert deaths and destruction of property