DONE IN PUBLIC INTEREST

KWS says removal of 'problem animals' is within the law

KWS said it has put in place elaborate management approaches to prevent and mitigate human-wildlife conflict.

In Summary

• Lethal control of problem animals, though not a desirable option, is applied as a last resort where the life of staff of the service or community member is under threat.

• Problem animal as defined in the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013, means any wildlife which has caused or is causing damage or harm to human life or property.

KWS ranger in action.
KWS ranger in action.
Image: FILE

The Kenya Wildlife Service has defended the use of lethal means to manage problem animals saying it is provided in law and is taken in the best interest of the public.

KWS said it has put in place elaborate management approaches to prevent and mitigate human-wildlife conflict, as well as managing problem animals.

“These include erection of wildlife barriers, mapping of hot spot areas for strategic deployments, translocation of problem animals, use of Collars especially on endangered species for monitoring, and conservation education,” it said.

However, in extreme cases, lethal control or what is referred to as “removal of problem animals” is applied.

Problem animal as defined in the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013, means any wildlife which has caused or is causing damage or harm to human life or property.

Lethal control of problem animals, though not a desirable option, is applied as a last resort where the life of staff of the Service or community member is under threat.

KWS said the move is within the law as provided for in Section 77 (i) of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act.

The Act states that any authorised officer of the service may, with the consent of the owner or occupier in respect of private land , where it is necessary for the purpose go onto any land to destroy any animal which has been deemed a problem animal.

KWS rangers are deemed to be authorised officers of the service as per Section 3 (i) of the Act, hence empowered to implement provisions of the Act.

In the recent past, KWS staff in the field have had to use lethal control in managing problem animals in various parts of the country so as to safeguard the lives of members of the public.

On July 22, 2020, a stray lion was “removed” from Kwa mukoo village of Yalatani sublocation in Kitui county.

The lion had strayed into the heavily settled community area, hence posing a threat to members of the public.

On July 21, 2020, at around 11pm, a hippo attacked and killed one Lemoris Lenalepisho, an 18-year-old man in Langari village, Ngoruto sublocation in Samburu county, and injured his companion, 23-year-old Raisia Laikipian.

The hippo had strayed into a community settlement within Maralal Township. It was “removed” to avert potential danger to the public.

On July 25, 2020, at around 8am, a report was received from members of the public that a lone cheetah was spotted at Mazeras in a densely populated residential area of Voi town.

The cheetah was put down to avert a potential threat to people.

The service said it is committed to prudent conservation and management of wildlife as well as ensuring peaceful coexistence of communities and wildlife.