Residents of Imbirikiani and Ol donyo Wuas in Kajiado South have received Sh8 million as compensation for livestock lost through wildlife attacks.
The locals who live near Amboseli National Park received compensation from Big Life Foundation for cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys that were attacked and killed by wild animals last year.
According to Daniel ole Sambu Big Life Foundation, Predator Protection Programme Coordinator, the local Maasai community live in close proximity to wild animals thus their livestock often fell victim to predation.
Sambu revealed that for each cow lost to wildlife attacks, one is entitled to Sh35, 000 as compensation.
Compensation for sheep and goats is Sh5, 000 while a donkey is Sh12, 000.
Over 30 residents received compensation for livestock lost through attacks by wild animals such as lions, hyenas, leopards and other predators.
According to Sambu, compensation is given after verification that livestock was indeed lost to wild animals and an assessment on the homestead is carried out.
For homesteads that are fully fenced, 100 per cent compensation is given while those that are not fenced are entitled to 50 per cent. Livestock lost in the grazing fields within the ranches are compensated at only 30 per cent.
The herders are encouraged to fence their cow sheds so as to keep off predators.
“Compensation is only done after verification that the livestock was indeed lost through wild life attacks. An average of five cows are lost daily here to wild animals,” he said.
Sambu revealed that the compensation programme supported by Big Life Foundation and Imbirikiani group ranch has helped mitigate retaliatory attacks on wild animals.
“To discourage herders from retaliation by killing the wild animals, the Predator Compensation Fund was established. This fund protects lions, and other carnivores in the ecosystem, by partially compensating locals for economic losses due to predation,” said Sambu.
Ndawuas Ole Seri, a resident of Imbirikiani, who received compensation for a cow and a sheep which were attacked by a lion expressed his gratitude to the Foundation adding that the funds would enable him replace the lost animals.
Ole Seri reiterated that the compensation programme has helped reduce human-wildlife conflict in the area.
He revealed that in the past, when a lion or hyena attacked their livestock, Morans would arm themselves with poisoned spears and hunt down the predators.
“We no longer have to go to the bush to kill wild animals for attacking our livestock because we are compensated. This has helped cushion us from the losses we used to incur,” said Ole Seri.
According to Jama Mepuko, a resident of Imbirikiani, the Big Life Foundation, apart from initiating the compensation programme, the Foundation has also offered employment to the locals as game rangers.
The Foundation also supports pupils from poor backgrounds by offering bursaries. This year alone, over 300 pupils have received Sh35 million as bursaries.
By Rop Janet