Tourism and wildlife cabinet secretary Peninah Malonza promises practical solutions to human-wildlife conflict
With Kenya and the Horn of Africa coming out of the worst drought in the last 40 years, cases of human-wildlife conflicts have been on the rise.
Over the last few months, reports of deadly confrontations between wild animals in search of water and pasture and humans have been on an upward trend, but there is a ray of hope as the crisis has since caught the attention of lawmakers in the country.
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Tourism and Wildlife cabinet secretary Peninah Malonza who was recently summoned to Parliament to explain some of the strategies that her ministry had put in place to reduce the conflicts, revealed that her ministry is already working on a number of short-term and long-term measures to address the situation.
In the short-term, the CS said that her ministry has opted to station staff in all protected areas, collaborate with stakeholders to help manage or limit wildlife encroachment and a wildlife drive operation to send away “problematic animals” far from farming and community areas.
And in the long-term, she pointed out, the tourism and wildlife department has begun the process of registering and titling land to correct the land use issues causing human-wildlife conflicts as well as the restoration and regeneration of degraded habitats and wildlife corridors and dispersal areas.
“We have instituted measures such as capturing and translocating problematic wildlife, deploying technology to monitor movement and activities of large mammals and payment of compensation claims,” Malonza said.
She added that her ministry had also taken steps to provide public education and awareness to residents, the establishment of community conservancies as well as the provision of water in wildlife conservancies to reduce cases of conflict.
There are also plans to improve community livelihoods through benefit sharing and anchoring the wildlife sector economy and carbon/biodiversity credit as well as plans to support the dwindling financing of conservation initiatives.
The CS noted that her ministry had also allocated Sh50 million for the Tourism Promotion Fund to fence Kitui South and Mwingi North reserve areas.
“With regard to compensation of persons affected by human-wildlife conflict, in Kitui county, a total of 219 individuals are already eligible for payment which will be done by the ministry,” the CS said.
She added that a partial payment of Sh52.9 million will be made between July and August, 2023, while the balance of 29 claims valued at Sh76.9 million will be paid from the Sh1 billion allocation in the 2023/24 financial year.