Wajir wildlife victims to benefit from Sh121 million compensation

Wednesday July 5 2017

By BRUHAN MAKONG
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Victims of human-wildlife conflict in Wajir County will receive over Sh121 million from the State as compensation for lives lost and property destroyed.

According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, 20 people have died from snake bites and hyena attacks in Wajir County in the past one year.

Joel Kanda, KWS warden in charge of operations and management in the county, said 137 cases of human-wildlife conflict have been reported since March last year.

Out of these, 105 people have been injured by snakes and hyenas, he said.

Mr Kanda said snake bites are the leading cause of death, accounting for 85 per cent of the reported cases, while hyena attacks account for the highest number of livestock deaths recorded.

POISONING ANIMALS

Recently, a two-year-old child was killed by a hyena in Lolkuta, Wajir West.

He cautioned the residents against using poison, which wears out the teeth of hyenas to prevent them from attacking livestock.

“Ecologically, hyenas are not known to target human beings for meat. There could be a possibility that they have been poisoned, resulting in the change of its behaviour to go after humans,” Mr Kanga said.

He said the county conservation and compensation committee had approved a payment of Sh121,314,500 to the victims and their families.

FALSE CLAIMS

“I urge the locals to avoid lying when demanding compensation due to the loss caused by wildlife since the funds belong to the taxpayers. When some residents are bitten by spiders or scorpions they claim it is snake bites,” he said.

He added that combined efforts between the Kenya Wildlife Service, the county government and other stakeholders on how to handle human-wildlife clashes will play a huge role in reducing casualties in future.

“Deaths involving snakes can easily be avoided if the residents are made aware about the safety procedures while carrying out their duties.

"We are partnering with the county government and other stakeholders to ensure we reduce the cases through public awareness,” he said.