As the government says it needs Sh10 billion for compensating victims of human/wildlife conflicts, hundreds of cases are pending in Kajiado.
Tourism CS Najib Balala recently in Nairobi stated that the government needs Sh10 billion to compensate victims in 14,000 cases of human-wildlife conflict.
An audit of the cases is ongoing and a list of genuine victims will be drawn up once the process is completed.
Even as Balala says the money is required, hundreds of cases that have lasted for more than 5 years are pending in Kajiado, which is a hotbed of conflicts from wild animals in the Nairobi and the Amboseli National parks.
Balala said the KWS account has around Sh365 million, which will be used to get the compensation underway from next month.
He was speaking in Nairobi at a consultative forum on human-wildlife compensation.
According to the CS, 63 death cases will be the first to receive payment out of the 130 cases on the desk.
Balala said the ministry has between 5,000 and 6,000 pending injury cases, with almost 2,000 having been cleared. There are a lot of lies in the cases, he claimed.
“For instance, some families whose members die from natural causes come out claiming the dead were bitten by a snake,” the Cabinet Secretary said.
He went on: “Right now we have a budget of Sh500 million for the 2018-19 financial year and Sh500 million for 2019-20. We are now starting to pay those who were killed by wildlife followed by those who were injured, then those whose crops were destroyed.”
The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013) stipulates that a genuine victim of human-wildlife conflict has a right to seek compensation.
One may be compensated for death and injury if attacked by an elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, hyena, crocodile, cheetah, buffalo, snake, hippo, shark, stonefish, whale, stingray, wild dog or wild pig.
The loss of life, injury or property damage must be reported to the nearest KWS office within 48 hours.
Victims’ family members get Sh5 million compensation in case of death while the victim is paid up to Sh3 million if the injuries cause permanent disability
For other injuries, the victims stand to receive up to Sh2 million upon approval by the committee.
Owners of crops, property or livestock destroyed by wildlife get awarded their equivalent value; those not satisfied may appeal to the National Environment Tribunal or Environment and Land Court.
“We had a problem since the new law in 2013 that gave compensation of Sh5 million, Sh3 and Sh2 million. There was no budget and criteria for verifying those with genuine cases and which goes by the law and which doesn’t,” he said.
There will be one means of compensation to weed out cases where people receive double compensation from NGOs and the government.
In Kajiado, Big Life Foundation compensates farmers in Imbirrikani/Eselenkei Ward who lose their livestock to predators like lions.
Those are the ones the government will look at so that it does not compensate them again in the new plan.
Most of the cases in Kajiado involve leopards raiding homes and in the process kill sheep and goats while residents are asleep at night.
County human/wildlife compensation committee has not also been operative in Kajiado owing to lack of finances. Most of those seeking compensations lost hopes years back after KWS officers even stopped visiting them whenever their livestock are attacked.