NAIROBI, Kenya, April 13 – The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) says most wildlife zones have been fenced to bring an end perennial human-wildlife conflicts.
Board of Trustees Chairman David Mwiraria pointed out that the program is currently on going in Taita Taveta, the Aberdare’s, Nyanza, Marmanet and Meru.
He stated that it will further be extended to other areas and challenged Kenyans to be patient and learn to coexist with animals.
“We want you to tell us your problems. In areas where we find that there is an encroachment, we will build fences so that there can be a separation between humans and wildlife,” he said.
He noted that wildlife was straying from their habitats due to lack of pasture and stated that most of them especially elephants have also learnt to dig deep in the ground to look for water while others were breaking into granaries in search of food.
“The work we are doing here is because we want residents in these areas to know that there are benefits to having wildlife in our country. That they bring in profits through the promotion of tourism. As a result of this, we need to focus more on their positive aspects other than the negative,” he observed.
Mwiraria stressed that the Wildlife Bill waiting to be passed in Parliament will come in handy to compensating victims of such conflicts.
“The government wants to work together with you to end all these problems. There is a bill that has been developed that is waiting to be passed in parliament. If this comes to be if an elephant destroys your property, we hope that you will be able to be compensated,” he said.
He added that poachers will not be spared as stiff penalties will be instituted against the suspects in order to reduce the menace.
The KWS board chairman made the remarks at Manguo primary school in Nyahururu district when he commissioned the KWS sponsored project being set up in the facility.
The school, situated in a high human wildlife conflict area, benefited from the construction of classrooms, modern flush toilets and piped water costing Sh2.9 million as part of the KWS community outreach goal of fostering partnerships with communities who interact and host wildlife on their lands.
Mwiraria praised residents from the village for their commitment to protecting wildlife in the area particularly hippos from the neighbouring Ewaso Nyiro river.
He noted the wildlife was earning the country huge amount of foreign money adding that through this, it was helping to creating more job opportunities to Kenyans.
Mwiraria said KWS is working hard to help President Uhuru Kenyatta realize his vision of increasing the number of tourists who visit the country from one million to five million in the next five years.
He observed that wildlife contributes 12 percent of Kenya’s GDP and that 07 per cent of tourists who visit Kenya every year come to see wildlife.