NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22 – At least 18 people have been killed by wildlife in the last six months, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Spokesman Paul Mbugua said on Friday that 65 people had suffered injuries while 598 incidents of crop damage, 496 incidents of humans threatened by wildlife, 176 wild animal attacks on livestock and 18 reports of property destruction had been recorded.
“Chyulu Hills recorded the highest number of human wildlife incidents at 139; Lamu at 128, Bura and Voi in Taita Taveta reported 235 incidents while Kajiado had 57 incidents,” he stated.
However, the KWS only compensates for human injuries and deaths at a rate of Sh50, 000 and Sh200, 000 respectively.
The Wildlife Bill proposes the rates for consolation of death to be revised further up to Sh1 million. Compensation of property is also set to be incorporated in the Bill.
Mbugua also noted that the country had lost nine lions since January including the recent Kitengela incident where six were killed by angry villagers after the beasts attacked their livestock. Four elephants, 15 baboons, 11 monkeys and six zebras had also been killed in human wildlife conflict in the same period.
The KWS is yet to make arrests following the Kitengela killings that occurred on Wednesday.
Mbugua said this was because the suspects had gone into hiding and they were also reviewing video tapes taken at the scene to ensure all those involved are arraigned in court.
“Human-wildlife conflict is on the increase and there are various factors that have caused this which include the increase in human population which is not a mistake but with that increase it means the land for wildlife is shrinking and as a result there is a lot of conflict and to alleviate this we have adopted several measures and every area the problem is tackled differently,” he said.
But the KWS has been accused by locals of failing to take urgent action when called upon when wild animals stray to their farms.
Meanwhile, residents from Laikipia West have petitioned the government to look for a lasting solution to resolve the growing human-wildlife conflict in some parts of the country.
Led by Former Nyahururu Deputy Mayor Irene Wachuka, they said that farmers living around un-protected ranches and wildlife conservation areas were the most affected by the menace.
“Recently there was a woman who was eaten by a lion in Laikipia, 300 metres from her home, an elephant killed another woman and within one month another young man of 31 years was killed,” Wachuka said.
They now want the government to compel the proprietor of the Laikipia Natures Conservancy to fence up the open area to help reduce the looming crisis between the ranchers and the residents.
According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, Taita Taveta, Narok, Laikipia, Kajiado and Samburu are the hotspots for human wildlife conflicts.