MISSUE NO. 3616 

April 19 - 24, 2013

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

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Kenya Wildlife Service provide
funds for wildlife compensation

KWS officials have cited human-wildlife conflict as one
of the major causes of declining number of lions in Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government has released about 220,000 U.S. dollars for payment to families of people killed or injured by wildlife across the East African country.    

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said on Sunday that the funds will be paid to victims and next of kin by district commissioners in eight conservation areas.

“A total of 230 cases, out of which 46 were deaths cases and 184 injury cases, were reported and approved for payment by the national committee. Snake bites constituted majority of these cases,” KWS said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The agency said the payments were approved for payment by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife at a ministerial wildlife compensation committee meeting in February.

KWS officials have cited human-wildlife conflict as one of the major causes of declining number of lions in Kenya. They say carnivores still like lions attack livestock and this in turn leads to retaliation by the humans.

KWS listed elephants, lions, wild dogs, leopards, cheetah, hyenas, Sitatunga, Tana crested mangabey, and Tana red Columbus monkeys as some of the most endangered wildlife species in Kenya.

The number of wild animals in Kenya has reduced drastically, threatening the existence of one of the country’s major attraction to tourists –who bring most of foreign exchange, new data released by the KWS indicates.

One of the most affected wildlife species is the lion whose number has reduced by about 1,000 between 2002 and 2008 threatening to wipe off one of the country’s largest wild cats.

The country had 30,000 lions in the 1960s when it gained independence from Britain but poaching, drought and human-wildlife conflict have seen the population drop drastically.

Meanwhile, KWS said a stray lioness was speared to death in a retaliatory attack by communities at Lemong’o area near Amboseli National Park in Kajiado County in the outskirts of Nairobi.

The lioness had attacked and killed three goats in a boma at a household in the village. Apparently it was unable to exit the boma only for the villagers to attack it with spears and arrows and killed. The incident was reported to KWS officials who responded immediately.

Late last month, a Maasai moran was left nursing injuries after he was attacked by lions in Kajiado County. A lioness was also killed when an estimated 300 morans went on a revenge mission.

“A pride of five lions is believed to have invaded a boma. An estimated 41 goats and one cow were killed in the incident,” KWS said.

Kenya wildlife enthusiasts have been banking on the passage of the new Wildlife Bill 2011 to reduce the rising cases of poaching in the East African nation. The law proposes severe punishment for poachers and people-led wildlife conservancy efforts.

The proposed Wildlife Bill has also recommended severe crime for poachers since poaching will be like an organized crime under the law.

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Kenya equips rangers to deal
with human wildlife conflicts

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government has released 156,200 U. S. dollars to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to equip its elite rapid frontline response team of rangers to tackle rising human wildlife conflicts.

The money will be used by KWS’s Problem Animal Management Unit (PAMU) to purchase the rangers’ tools of trade.

“Rangers are expected to undergo training on the use of the equipment in due course,” KWS Corporate Affairs Manager Paul Udoto said in a statement issued in Nairobi on Monday.

He said in year 2012, 3,737 cases of wildlife mortality resulting from human wildlife conflict were reported across the country down from 4,887 in the previous year.

The East African nation has been losing 100 lions a year for the past 7 years, leaving the country with just 2000 of its famous big cats, meaning that the country could have no wild lions at all in 20 years.

Conservationists have blamed habitat destruction, disease and conflict with humans for the lion population decline.

KWS has been conducting animal translocations to reduce incidences of elephant mortalities and reduce the agency’s expenditures on Problem Animal Control (PAC).

PAMU, an elite rapid frontline response team of rangers, was established in the year 1994 to undertake problem animal control across the various human wildlife conflicts (HWC) hotspots in the country.

“They beef up ground teams when they are overwhelmed with human wildlife conflict incidents across the country. Human wildlife conflict remains a major challenge in the management and conservation of wildlife in Kenya,” Udoto said.

He said the materials which include a custom-made Land Cruiser van, tents and equipment, cameras, GPS equipment, rain clothing, binoculars, and computers, have already been deployed to the unit.

Already, the government has released 218,000 dollars for payment to people killed or injured by wildlife across the country.

A total of 230 cases, out of which 46 were deaths cases and 184 injury cases, were reported and approved by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife at a ministerial wildlife compensation committee meeting in February 2013.

“KWS has also stepped up efforts to combat human wildlife conflicts with aim of alleviating the suffering occasioned by these human wildlife interactions,” Udoto said.

According to KWS, Rapid change in lifestyle of local communities from pastoralists to crop farming and other incompatible land-use practices have tremendously led to increased human wildlife conflict in the Narok County.

“Such conflict in many areas is mainly attributed to increased human population and loss of elephant habitat due to uncontrolled human activities, especially crop farming, charcoal burning and human settlements,” it said.

KWS has launched a national elephant conservation and management strategy which provides a clear roadmap for conservation and management of elephants in Kenya for the next 10 years.

The elephant strategy seeks to reduce cases of human-elephant conflict and increase the value of elephants to people and habitats.

It outlines strategies KWS and other conservation partners will use to protect the species, particularly in key strategic locations, such as dispersal areas, migration corridors and in the human-elephant conflict hotspots.

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