Compensation claims from victims of human-wildlife conflict in the last five years have hit Sh15 billion, Tourism and Wildlife PS Margaret Mwakima has said.
The claims that have been filed through County Wildlife Compensation Committees are for residents who have been killed or injured, and those whose property has been destroyed by elephants and other animals.
Speaking during the World Elephant Day national celebrations in Meru on Saturday, Dr Mwakima called for patience, citing her ministry’s financial constraints.
“We are in the process of setting up a national wildlife compensation scheme to ensure timely payment of claims,” Ms Mwakima said.
The ministry official made the comments after Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi raised concerns over delays by the government to compensate residents affected by elephant invasions.
“In India, we hear that elephants carry people, but in Meru it is the opposite. People live in fear due to constant invasion by elephants. Compensation claims of more than Sh420 million are yet to be paid,” Mr Murungi said.
The wildlife official called on the National Assembly and the Senate to approve budgetary allocations to the ministry to facilitate payment of the claims.
“As soon as we receive the funds from Treasury, we will pay on first come, first served basis to reduce the backlog. We are concerned about the delays and this is why we are coming up with a lasting solution,” she said.
Ms Mwakima said the ministry has developed a national tourism blueprint and wildlife strategy to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
“We have also put in place the national wildlife policy that will guide legislation on wildlife in the counties. A national working group will also be gazetted soon to advice on how to secure wildlife corridors and dispersal areas to reduce attacks and destruction of property,” the PS said.
According to section 25 of the Wildlife Management and Conservation Act, Sh5 million shall be paid for human death, Sh3 million for injury with permanent disability and up to Sh2 million for other injuries depending on their extent.