Kenya’s new Wildlife Act, assented by the president on 24th December 2013 provides an opportunity for wildlife managers and communities to benefit from wildlife conservation activities. Amendments included in this Act makes it much more friendly to conservation, as it involves local stakeholders in various conservation matters.
Compensation has also been clearly addressed in the new Act. Previously compensation was paid by the government and this was facilitated through District Wildlife Compensation Committees. Compensation under the old wildlife act only related to human death and injury. It did not include destruction of crops, livestock and property. Furthermore, the amount paid for loss of life and injury was contentiously inadequate. The process of administering the compensation claims was highly bureaucratic and did not involve local stakeholders. To correct this weakness, the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act has allowed for the establishment of County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees (CWCCCs) for every County in Kenya. The committees will work to oversee conservation and management of wildlife in various counties, including managing compensation after human-wildlife conflict incidences have occurred
Numerous residents in Laikipia who have suffered loss of crops, livestock, and property welcome the formation of the CWCCCs as most had resigned to the fact that their claims would go unfulfilled. The CWCCCs have already gone through induction and are about to commence on the implementation of services to communities.
To date, human death and injury claims add up to approximately Kes 5 billion which in itself poses a dilemma for the government on where these funds will be sourced.
In order to clarify the content of the wildlife act, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, made several regulations to guide the implementation of the Act. These regulations will come into force on the date that they are gazetted. Regulations include those on conservancies, compensation, licensing, community participation, security, government trophies, among others.
Various conservationists have been approached to submit their views on these regulations in order to guide KWS in the revision and validation process.
LWFhas been at the forefront in mobilising Laikipians to give their comments on these regulations. The Forum has also collected views from members and forwarded them to the relevant authority.
The 23 WCMA regulations and guidelines are still under review by KWS and the KWS Board. The Board was expected to meet in November, 2015 to confirm the latest drafts, and to recommend final versions to the Cabinet Secretary for approval and posting. A final public validation meeting is likely to be held in the New Year.
LWF is working with the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) to ensure that the final feedback, recommendations and revisions from the membership are incorporated into the final versions and presented to the government.