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Government disburses Sh569 million for wildlife related injuries and deaths

The government has disbursed Sh569 million for settling compensation claims due to injuries and deaths resulting from human-wildlife conflict to cover claims filed up to 2017.
Wildlife PS Prof. Fred Segor said that the ministry has been scrutinizing over 13,000 claims already filed by thousands of Kenyans, demanding compensation for death, injuries or destruction of property by wildlife.
Prof. Segor was speaking in Voi Thursday during a visit to Tsavo National Park to check on the status of the park and meet various conservation stakeholders.
“We have disbursed all the monies and the claimants will receive payments within two weeks. It’s been a lot of work going through all the claims and we still have a backlog that we intend to clear immediately,” he said.
The PS was accompanied by Director of Wildlife and Partnerships Dr. Erastus Kanga, Tsavo Conservation Area Assistant Director Robert Njue and other senior ministry officials.
He disclosed that the ministry intends to set aside around Sh564 million for compensations for the fiscal year 2020/2021. “We now have a backlog of cases filed from 2017 to date. We intend to process those cases and clear all claims,” he added.
With time, the ministry hopes to have a budget of over Sh1 billion for compensation, so as to settle claims with minimum delays.
Prof. Segor further urged Kenyans to report cases of human-wildlife conflict and keep all records warning that some claims were delaying for lack of proper documents.
The PS further expressed government concerns over a surge in cases of hippo attacks on humans in areas with large water bodies. He attributed this to the heavy rains that have flooded zones that used to be traditional grazing fields for the large herbivorous animals.
As a result, hippos are now being forced to stray further in search of food and in the process trigger conflicts in human settlement areas.

Wildlife PS Prof. Fred Segor feeding an elephant calf at Tsavo’s David Sheldrick Elephant Stockade on Thursday June 11, 2020

The cases of such attacks are more prevalent in Nyanza around Lake Victoria, areas around Lake Nakuru and some parts of lower coast region.
“We have seen a trend where hippo attacks are being reported. We call for people living in areas with large water bodies to exercise caution because hippos might stray far from their habitat,” he added.
The PS also noted that poaching of small-game in Tsavo national parks had increased during the three months that Covid-19 was reported in the country. He stated that most poachers were going for animals like dikdiks, antelopes and in some cases large mammals like giraffes.
He warned that poaching remained a crime and would be dealt with firmly. He said that game meat remained outlawed and asked those who wanted to eat meat to buy from butcheries dealing with livestock meat.
“Killing of wild animals whether for food or any other reason is a criminal offence. If you must eat meat, go buy from a butchery,” he said.
Last month, a truck driver and his conductor were intercepted by the rangers and police along Nairobi-Mombasa highway ferrying a giraffe and zebra carcass. Days after that incident, four more men were arrested with six dikdik carcasses in Kuranze area at the border of Kwale and Voi sub-county.
By Wagema Mwangi

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