TO BEGIN IN JUNE

Sh10bn needed for human-wildlife conflict payouts

In Summary

• At least 63 death cases will be paid from next month.

• The Tourism ministry has between 5,000 to 6,000 pending injury cases, with almost 2,000 having been cleared.

Tourism CS Najib Balal during the stakeholders consultative forum on innovative human-wildlife conflict compensation schemes in Nairobi on May 15, 2019.
Tourism CS Najib Balal during the stakeholders consultative forum on innovative human-wildlife conflict compensation schemes in Nairobi on May 15, 2019.
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The government needs Sh10 billion to compensate victims in 14,000 cases of human-wildlife conflict, Tourism CS Najib Balala has said. 

An audit of the cases is ongoing and a list of genuine victims will be drawn up once the process is completed.

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. For instance, some families whose members die from natural causes come out claiming they [the dead] were bitten by a snake,” the Cabinet Secretary said.

“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.

Family members of the victim 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.

Edited by O. Owino