Full Length Research Paper
Human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) can cause substantial losses. Compensation for such losses is essential to foster positive community attitudes toward wildlife conservation. Monetary compensation for the loss of human life, injury, crop and property damage, or livestock depredation by wildlife is a common strategy for mitigating HWC. We analyzed inter-specific, spatial, inter-annual and seasonal variation in human-wildlife conflicts, conflict outcome and the associated monetary costs of compensation in Kenya during 2007-2016. A total of 18,794 compensation claims were filed with the Kenya National Compensation Scheme (KNCS) during 2007 - 2016. Snakes made the greatest contribution to the total cases (44.8%, = 8,423), human fatalities (43.1%, = 614) and human injuries (76.9%, = 7,772). Elephant was the second leading conflict species (22.3%, = 4,181) and was responsible for 18.8% ( = 266) of human deaths and over 75% of crop and property damage. Spotted hyena, leopard and lion caused 85% of livestock predation cases. The intensity and outcome of conflicts varied across counties such that most human fatalities occurred in arid Tana River and Wajir counties, whereas most human injuries occurred in Kitui and Wajir counties. The intensity of conflicts was strongly influenced by the agro-climatic potential and percentage of a county under protection, rainfall and temperature and their interactions. In consequence, crop damage was highest in counties with high agricultural potential (Meru and Taita Taveta) but livestock predation was highest in counties with large protected areas (Samburu and Taita Taveta). Human fatality and injury were higher among males than females and adults than children. Over the 10-year period, the Kenya Government spent about 3 billion Kenya shillings on compensation of about 30% of all filed claims. Compensation schemes require sustainable funding mechanisms and effective administration to minimize negative unintended consequences.
Key words: Human-wildlife conflicts, compensation, snake bites, attack on humans, livestock predation, crop raiding, rainfall, temperature, human population growth.
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