Government Launches Nationwide Campaign to Address Rising Human-Wildlife Conflict

KIBWEZI/MTITO-ANDEI – The Ministry of Tourism is taking decisive steps to tackle the rising concerns of human-wildlife conflict, especially in communities living adjacent to wildlife sanctuaries. In a comprehensive initiative led by Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary (CS) Alfred Mutua, an assessment of human-wildlife conflict hotspots has been initiated, beginning with Kibwezi and Mtito-Andei regions.

The urgency of this campaign reflects the escalating tensions between expanding human populations and wildlife habitats. As humans increasingly encroach upon traditional wildlife territories, there’s a surge in conflicts. These have manifested as crop destruction, livestock predation, and in dire situations, attacks on locals by wild animals.

CS Mutua shared his concerns via his X account, highlighting the pressing issues in the aforementioned regions. “As human numbers swell, pushing into wildlife zones, we’re seeing a spike in confrontations. The matters of crop damage, livestock losses, and occasional assaults on villagers by animals are top on my agenda,” Mutua commented.

In a bid to gather firsthand information, the CS plans to visit individual households that have borne the brunt of these clashes. Key points of discussion will be around compensation mechanisms and the idea of erecting fences to demarcate boundaries. Furthermore, Mutua is keen on understanding and implementing strategies with local communities to minimize these confrontations.

Public addresses, or barazas, have also been scheduled at Kyusyani in Mtito and Kasayani in Kibwezi to ensure widespread community involvement.

This inspection tour isn’t just about assessing the situation; it’s also about advocacy. “The Kibwezi and Mtito Andei trip symbolizes a pivotal moment in our quest to alleviate human-wildlife conflicts in this belt, all while championing the cause of wildlife preservation,” declared CS Mutua.

Backing their intent with actions, the government in June sanctioned a compensation package of Ksh 908 million for families who’ve lost members, endured injuries, or seen their properties ravaged by wildlife. This move, rooted in the Wildlife Management and Conservation Act 2013, aims to settle claims spanning from 2014 to 2019. It encompasses a range of grievances including human casualties, injuries, crop devastation, and livestock losses.

In addition, to redress older unresolved complaints, an additional Ksh 322 million has been earmarked to settle compensation claims that have been lingering since the 1990s.

However, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) data indicates a staggering Ksh 5.6 billion in outstanding claims for fatalities, crop, and property damages across all 47 counties. This suggests that the current compensation allocations, although increased from Ksh 400 million in 2021 to Ksh 1.5 billion in 2023, might still fall short of the growing needs, given the rampant and recurring nature of human-wildlife conflicts across Kenya.

The Ministry’s efforts underscore the intricate balancing act between conservation and the livelihoods of communities bordering these sanctuaries. With these proactive measures, there’s hope for a harmonious coexistence in the near future.


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