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Balala launches taskforce to look into wildlife attacks reparation

The  Tourism and  Wildlife Cabinet Secretary (CS), Najib Balala has launched a Task Force to come up with measures of  mitigating compensations arising from human/wildlife conflicts.

The  Task Force will be looking into ways in which the government and the private sector can collaborate  in mitigating  human/wildlife conflict through insurance schemes.

While  launching the Task Force at his office on Monday, Balala said the government cannot single-handedly handle the huge  number of compensation claims arising from human-wildlife conflict in the country.

He  said, from 2013 to 2017, there were 14,000 claims, thereby stretching human-wildlife compensation to Ksh.10billion.

Currently, the government pays Ksh.5million for a single human death occasioned by wildlife, Ksh.3million for permanent  injury that causes disability for life and a maximum of Ksh. 2million for any other compensation.

The  CS said, the government was totally overwhelmed by the sheer number of claims because some people  took advantage of the system to make fraudulent claims at the expense of the genuine cases, thereby, making it unmanageable and unsustainable.

The  Terms  of  Reference for the Task Force include; providing recommendations on financing mechanism for suitable compensation  schemes to include but not limited to government allocations.

It  has  also  to  recommend  practical methods  to mitigate human/wildlife conflict with a full 5-year financial plan, and  explore  ways of creating an independent human-wildlife Conflict Fund, among other recommendations.

All  this, Balala  said, was aimed at enabling co-existence between people and wildlife, particularly in free range wildlife  areas.

“This  was  long  overdue  and I look forward to the completion of this work within the stipulated budget limits and time  frame”, the CS said.

The  15- member Task Force, which is chaired by the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Joseph Boinett, has 30 working days to come up with the report and the implementation plan.

Other  members of the Task Force include, Dr. Susan Koech, who is the Principal Secretary State Department for Wildlife and Dr. Julius Kipng’etich, a former director of Kenya Wildlife Service, among other members drawn from non-state conservationist organisations, Insurance Regulatory  Authority, the insurance industry and the Ministry of Tourism and  Wildlife.

By  Kennedy  Waziri

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