MPs want insurance scheme for human-wildlife conflict victims

Wednesday March 18 2020
LION

A lion passes in front of car after the feline ran away from the Amboseli National Park on March 30, 2016. PHOTO | AFP STRINGER

By SAMWEL OWINO

Members of Parliament want the government to set up an insurance scheme to compensate those injured or killed by wild animals.

The National Assembly committee on environment and natural resources expressed concern over delay in compensating those that have suffered due to attacks by the wild animals. The legislators want a fund established to promptly assist victims.

COMPENSATION

In a meeting with the taskforce on human-wildlife compensation scheme on Friday, the committee said the establishment of the scheme will help victims settle hospital bills.  

The taskforce which was gazetted in June this year by Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife was also expected to come up with innovative ways on mitigating human-wildlife conflict.

It is also expected to come up with ways mitigating and compensating those affected by the conflicts. Preliminary findings of the taskforce found out that communities want a faster, efficient compensation.

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The taskforce also found out that communities want faster response to reported incidents. The team chaired by former Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet is, however, yet to release its final report.

VICTIMS

“We need an insurance scheme for sustainability of the compensation,” said North Horr MP Chachu Ganya

The committee chairman Kareke Mbiuki (Maara) told the taskforce that he lost his grandmother who was attacked by an elephant in his village two years ago. He said the family has not yet been compensated.

Kasipul MP Ong’ondo Were said the Kenya Wildlife Service wait for accidents to happen before they begin looking for money to compensate victims.

“We need to have funds in place to compensate the victims. We also need to mitigate the conflict between human and wildlife,” Mr Were said.

The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013) states that a victim of human-wildlife conflict has a right to seek compensation.

According to the act, an individual maybe 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.

INJURY

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, other injuries, the victims stand to receive up to Sh2 million upon approval by the committee.

In May this year, the government pointed out that it needs Sh10 billion to compensate victims in 14,000 cases of human-wildlife conflict.