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Bill to address pay for wildlife damages

NAIROBI, August 21- A new Wildlife Bill which is set to increase the compensation fees for people affected by wild animals by more than five times is soon to be tabled in Parliament.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director Julius Kipngetich said Thursday that the Bill is aimed at reducing incidences of human-wildlife conflict, encourage preservation of endangered species and ultimately increase revenue to the country through tourism.

“Right now we give consolation for death. It is Sh200,000 but the Bill before parliament is proposing to put it at Sh1 million for a start,” Kipngetich outlined.

He further said the Bill aimed to offer compensation for property destroyed by wildlife.

The KWS Director also urged livestock farmers residing near game parks and reserves to make use of the Consolation Scheme by seeking compensation of livestock lost through predators.

The scheme was set up in 2001 by the Kenya Wildlife Service in conjunction with the ‘Friends of Nairobi National Park’ with the aim of compensating farmers following sporadic clashes between the pastoralists and lions which attacked their livestock.

Board Member of Friends of Nairobi National Park Inge Burchard further urged farmers to exercise self restraint with respect to wildlife herbivores so as not to upset the animal food chain.

“Please be tolerant to herbivores so that the natural prey can recover,” she implored.

Additionally, she stressed the need for more donors to keep the Consolation fund going.

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“In 2003 when this pilot project had to be abandoned because of lack of funds, eleven lions were slaughtered by Maasai morans and this raised an international outcry,” she pointed out.

Authorities had earlier issued an alarm following a report of two lions being killed in Amboselli bringing the total to ten in less than eight months.

The report by a local community group, ‘The Lion Guardians’ comes days after predator specialists met to address Kenya’s dwindling population of lions.

The two lions were speared on a community group ranch adjacent to the Amboselli National Park.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has raised alarm following a drastic drop from 10,000 in the 1970s to 2,010 lions today. Specialists believe that this is directly due to killings by humans.

The organisation says that in Laikipia, nine hyenas were poisoned in seven months, following the use of a harmful pesticide.

The lion population in Africa has dropped from 1 million a century ago to 29,000 today.

In Kenya, lions are spread out across the country’s national parks, game reserves and private conservancies as follows: Narok and Kajiado districts (825), Tsavo(675), Laikipia(230), Meru(80), Samburu and Isiolo (100) and Northern Kenya (100).

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