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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Communities trained on wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013

By Bob Aston
The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 became operational in Kenya on 10th January 2014. Despite being in operation for close to eight (8) months, few Kenyans know about the existence of the Act. In a bid to enlighten community members about the Act, Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) organized a training for community members at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre in Sipili Division on September 2, 2014.
Community members were informed that the law aims at improving the protection, conservation, sustainable use and management of the country’s wildlife resources.
Mr. Stephen Nyaga, a Wildlife Conservation Officer with LWF informed communities that various migratory routes of wild animals have been cut off by human settlement hence the rise of human-wildlife conflict.
Mr. Nyaga addressing participants during the training
“It is important as a community to learn how to coexist with wild animals. Many people have settled on wild animal’s dispersal areas and this has led to increase in conflict,” said Mr. Nyaga.
He said that wildlife Species in respect of which compensation may be paid in case of death or injury include; elephant, leopard, rhino, hyena, crocodile, cheetah, buffalo, poisonous snakes, hippo, shark, stone fish, whale, sting ray, wild dog and wild pig.
He added that wildlife species in respect of which compensation may be paid in case of crop, livestock or property damage include; elephant, lion ,leopard, rhino, hyena, crocodile, cheetah, buffalo, hippo, zebra, eland, wildebeest, snake and wild dog.
Communities were informed that compensation for human death, injury or damage will be dealt with by the soon to be formed County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committee (CWCCC).
He said that CWCCC will govern registration of conservancies, wildlife user rights, monitoring and implementation of management plans and review recommendations on compensation claims.
He informed communities that compensation as a result of human death is Ksh 5,000,000, compensation as a result of human injury with permanent disability is Ksh 3,000,000 while compensation as a result of other injuries will be up to Ksh 2,000,000 depending on the injury.
”No one has an authority to kill wild animals apart from Kenya Wildlife Service. They can do this due when it is extremely necessary due to problem animal control,” said Mr. Nyaga.
In case of loss or damage to crops, livestock and other property, compensation will be valued at market rate, but only where owners can show they put reasonable measures to protect their livestock, crops or property. He said that such cases should be reported to the chief, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and agricultural officers within 24 hours of occurrence.
Mr. Joseph Theuri from Vision 2050 addressing participants
He warned the public that it is an offence to make a false claim to the CWCCC with respect to wildlife compensation. He said such an act can lead to a fine of Ksh 100,000 or six (6) months imprisonment.
On his part, Jackson Mbuthia from Vision 2050 informed the community members that poaching has now become a national disaster. He said poaching and wildlife habitat destruction has been addressed in the Wildlife Act as stiffer fines and punishments for offenders have been set up.
He informed them that poaching or dealing in trophies of endangered species can attract a fine of twenty million Kenya Shillings (Ksh 20,000,000) or life imprisonment. Dealing in trophies or keeping trophies of wildlife (Other than endangered species) can attract a fine of one million Kenya shillings (Ksh 1,000,000) or five (5) years imprisonment.
He added that hunting of wildlife for subsistence (other than endangered species) can attract a fine of thirty thousand Kenya shillings (Ksh 30,000) or six (6) months imprisonment. Similarly, hunting for bush-meat trade, being in possession of or dealing in meat of wildlife (other than endangered species) will attract a fine of two hundred thousand Kenya shillings (Ksh 200,000) or one (1) year imprisonment.
He informed the public that it possible to register and get a license for running a conservancy from KWS through CWCCC. He said that by registering as a conservancy one will be able to enjoy various benefits that includes; more effective support from government and KWS, control of mining, quarrying, oil and gas exploration on the land as well as benefits from wildlife user rights.
Kenyan population has been on the rise over the years. As search for land for settlement has been on the rise so has habitat loss and degradation which has increased confrontations between wild animals and humans as they both compete for the scarce resources that are available.

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