Friday, May 24, 2024
Home > Counties > Tourism CS supports compensation of Snakebite victims

Tourism CS supports compensation of Snakebite victims

Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Ms. Penina Malonza wants compensation for snakebite victims reinstated.

Malonza said snakebites form the bulk of wildlife attacks in Lower Eastern and asked members of parliament from the region to petition for a legislation that will have the compensation restored.

The compensation for snakebites was removed in 2019 following the amendment of The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 after the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) decried the high rate of compensation claims.

Currently, only attacks from crocodiles, elephants, cheetahs, lions, leopards, buffaloes and hippos are compensated.

Speaking at Masii Youth Polytechnic in Mwala sub county Wednesday when she launched the Presidential Forestry and Range Land Restoration Programme, the CS noted that human-wildlife conflicts are set to escalate due to the prevailing drought situation and underscored the need for all victims to be compensated.

“The situation is expected to worsen and all victims whether attacked by an elephant or a snake should be compensated,” said the CS.

Malonza said the ministry currently has a pending bill of Sh3.6 billion wildlife attack compensation claims down from Sh5.6 billion. “Since I took over office, we have already paid Sh2 billion. We are trying as much as possible to clear the rest,” she said.

The CS disclosed plans by the ministry to buy pasture for wild animals and asked residents to plant and conserve pasture for the initiative.

“Areas that host wildlife like Kajiado and Tsavo have recorded very poor rains and animals, especially elephants, will move out of the parks looking for pastures. Last night two people were trampled to death by an elephant,” added Malonza.

She noted that the presidential programme on forestry and range land restoration that seeks to plant 15 billion trees by 2032 will help mitigate and reduce the human wildlife conflicts witnessed in the country.

“Besides, the programme will employ more than 100,000 young men and women who will help in the greening initiative,” said Malonza.

The CS dissuaded residents against deforestation and urged them to plant and nurture trees to combat climate change.

She was accompanied by the Principal Secretary (PS) for Devolution Terry Mbaika who said the government is championing the forestry restoration agenda to avert further catastrophe caused by harsh impacts of climate change and alleviate the suffering of Kenyans.

Mbaika noted that the ravaging effects of the prevailing drought has affected the entire social economic fabric of the country in ways never witnessed in the last 40 years and said short term and long term sustainable solutions must be put in place to combat climate change.

“The solution lies in greening the country, protecting forests and restoring degraded landscapes that will increase the tree cover to 30 per cent by 2030,” said the PS.

Also present was Machakos County Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha who appealed to residents to regulate sand harvesting and protect catchment areas. “I urge residents to plant trees in riparian lands and in their homesteads especially fruit trees which can be a source of food and income for families,” said Onyancha.

By Roselyne Kavoo and Racheal Kilonzo

Leave a Reply