, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife is seeking a budgetary allocation of Sh15 billion to enable it compensate families of people killed by wildlife and those injured or whose property has been destroyed by the animals.
Principal Secretary, Margaret Mwakima called for patience among those affected, while at the same time urging members of both the National Assembly and Senate to support the budgetary allocation sought by her ministry.
She stated that the ministry is also exploring ways of establishing a National Insurance Compensation Scheme, saying that they are working closely with National Treasury on modalities of executing the initiative.
“As a ministry, we have launched a Tourism blueprint and National Wildlife Management Strategy to resolve the perennial human-wildlife conflict,” she said.
She added that modalities of compensating people affected by the problem is a major strategic focus for the government.
She was speaking during this year’s World Elephant Day celebrations which were attended by key National and County government officials, including from Kenya Wildlife Service led by the chairman Board of Trustees, John Waithaka, acting KWS Directing General, Charles Musyoki and Kenya Forest Service Board chairman, Peter Kinyua.
Mwakima impressed upon National and County government officials to come up with joint policies on how to manage wildlife dispersal areas and corridors.
This, she said, would end the tendency to work in silos, which is a recipe for conflict between the two levels of government.
She further amplified this year’s World Elephant Day theme, “Elephants and people: Co-existence is possible”.
“Human-wildlife conflict is actually conflict amongst people because they are the ones who are encroaching on wildlife habitats,” she asserted.
She said the effects of land-use change and burgeoning human populations lead to shrinking habitats, giving way to human-wildlife conflict, further rendering the elephant more vulnerable regardless of its size and strength.
“We must resist the extinction of any more of our wildlife, by stopping habitat fragmentation, blockage of corridors, poaching, consumer demand for ivory, and allocate resources to protect natural habitat in areas where elephants and other wildlife can thrive now and in the future,” she said.
Musyoki on the other hand said national elephant population in the country stood at 33, 948 as at end of the year 2017 in a range area of 139,344 Km2, noting this represents a 2.25% annual increase since 1989.
He attributed population and range increase to establishment of community conservancies in known elephant range areas and tolerance by communities living with elephants.
He said due to various efforts to combat poaching nationally, there has been spatial shifts in poaching across the all elephant range areas of Tsavo, Samburu-Laikipia, Marsabit, Amboseli, Meru, Mara and forest ecosystems like Aberdare, Mt. Kenya and Mau, where very minimal poaching incidents were reported in the year 2017.