The government has so far released Sh.35.6m as payout for deaths arising from wildlife attacks in Taita-Taveta County reported between 2013 and 2016.
Ms. Zainab Salim, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Community Warden in Tsavo National Park confirmed many cases of human-wildlife conflict have been reported by affected residents.
Speaking in Taveta on Wednesday, Ms. Salim said ten death cases had been compensated to the tune of Sh.35.6 million. Seven deaths were paid five million each and three others got Sh.200, 000 each, she said.
She said that Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 had raised compensation for victims killed by wildlife from the initial Sh.200, 000 to Sh.5million per death. The Act further had provisions of compensation for crops and property destroyed and livestock killed by wild animals.
The Act states that the amount due for compensation for the injured depends on a doctor’s evaluation and the gravity of the injury.
There are over 1, 500 cases reported in the region to date. They include predation of domestic animals by lions and leopards, injuries to animals and human beings, destruction of crops in the farms and other properties. None of those cases have been compensated.
The KWS officer said that such cases took time to be compensated due to the lengthy evaluation process involved so as to arrive at the value of losses incurred.
Taita Taveta is among the human-wildlife conflict hotspots in the country. As part of efforts to reduce the conflict, the government commissioned the construction of the long-awaited 30-km Kamtonga �Bura electric fence in Mwatate.
The fence, erected at a cost of Sh.150m was aimed at protecting residents from frequent attacks by wildlife from the park.
During its commissioning in 2016, Environment and Natural Resources Principal Secretary, Margare t Mwakima said it would minimize human-elephant conflicts.
We want to get a lasting solution to human-wildlife conflict. We want people bordering the park to live in peace without security threats, she had said.
Ms. Christine Mwake, a Taveta resident who narrowly escaped death after being attacked by elephants, is still recuperating in Taveta sub-county hospital three years after the attack.
She said she was yet to receive compensation for her injuries that had her incur a lot of expenses seeking medical attention.
I have been to hospitals in Tanzania and only came back when the doctors felt that I needed to be treated closer home, she said.
Ms. Mwake hoped that KWS would construct more fences in areas that reported conflicts between residents and animals.
Source: Kenya News Agency