More than 477 people were killed in the never-ending human-wildlife conflict between 2014 and 2018, leaving the State with a Sh5 billion unpaid bill.
The Ministry of Tourism says that 1,263 people were seriously injured by the animals, 501 properties damaged while 735 animals were killed during the same period.
The grim statistics were presented to the Senate Committee on Tourism by Secretary Najib Balala who admitted that human wildlife conflict remains a persistent problem and major threat to wildlife conservation and management efforts.
“We have had challenges since 2014 that made compensation of the human-wildlife conflict claims difficult. There was no money and also the verification of HWC claims has not been consistently undertaken,” Mr Balala told the committee yesterday.
The ministry needed additional funds to implement provisions in the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 that enhanced compensation claims by families whose relatives are killed by wildlife. Compensation for human death, injury or damage to property has been significantly increased under the new law that came into force on January 10, 2014.
Section 25 of the Act stipulates that Sh5 million will be paid for human death, Sh3 million for injury with permanent disability and up to Sh2 million for other injuries, depending on degree.
The law also stipulates that loss or damage to crops, livestock and other property compensation be valued at market rates, but not in cases where owners did not take reasonable measures to protect their wealth.
Ministerial Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committee (MWCCC) put unpaid claims at Sh5 billion.
Mr Balala told the committee chaired by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru that some Sh1.5 billion has been released to each of the 166 approved human deaths.
The CS told the committee that budgetary constraints and lack of verified claims of conflicts hampers effective compensation of the victims.
“The human deaths claims have already been disbursed and repayments to the next of kin of the 163 victims have been processed by KWS with an initial payment of 30 percent paid by the end of June 2019,” he said.
Verification of 4,530 injury claims has been completed and that a final report would be completed by July 10.
Some Sh579 million was allocated in the 2019-20 budget for the compensation.
The conflicts are common in Laikipia, Narok, Taita Taveta, Lamu, Meru and Kajiado counties.