Kenya pledges action on human-wildlife conflicts amid rising fatalities

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-17 00:58:50|Editor: yan
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NAIROBI, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Monday vowed to boost security around national parks and game reserves to minimize conflicts between wildlife, herders and farmers that has resulted in fatalities.

Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, said the government will invest in modern surveillance technology and additional rangers to minimize contacts between wild animals and communities.

"We have put strong measures in place to minimize human-wildlife conflict that has been on the rise due to encroachment of wildlife corridors through human settlement and climate change," said Balala.

He made the remarks during a ceremony to honor wildlife rangers who have died in the line of duty that was attended by senior policymakers, conservationists and community leaders.

A middle-aged man died last week after he was mauled by a lion that had strayed from Nairobi National Park.

Kenyan wildlife rangers have intensified search for the lion that is suspected to be roaming in Nairobi's southwestern suburbs that have lately witnessed rapid growth of human settlements to the detriment of the movement of wildlife.

Balala said the government has earmarked additional resources to boost the ecological integrity of the parks and reduce the movement of wild animals into homesteads and farms.

"Our aim is to ensure that the biodiversity of the parks is not harmed through human activities. The parks should be conducive for habitation by wild animals," said Balala.

He said the government will fast-track compensation to families who lost a relative after an attack by carnivores or the giant mammals.

John Waweru, director-general of Kenya Wildlife Service, said the government will leverage on state-of-the-art surveillance infrastructure, retraining of rangers and community engagement to minimize human-wildlife conflicts.

"The conflicts between animals in the wild and communities not only lead to loss of lives but also impact negatively on the economy hence the need to invest in new tools in order to contain this threat," said Waweru.

He said the government will support community-led conservation of wildlife corridors to minimize conflict between herders and iconic species like elephants, rhinos and lions.