The Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) has been ordered to pay a farmer Ksh180,000 compensation after wildlife destroyed her crops in Katakala location, Narok County.
Catherine Njoki Muchiri sued the state corporation after zebras invaded her farm and destroyed six acres of her maize which were fully grown on July 17, 2014.
The farmer moved to court after a six-year delay by the KWS to compensate her for the damages.
The National Environment Tribunal sitting in Nairobi ruled that KWS was in breach of its statutory duty as provided under sections 3A (l) of the Wildlife (Conservation & Management) Act, Cap 376 of the Laws of Kenya, hence liable to pay damages.
The tribunal led by its Chairperson Mohammed Balala said that Wildlife Conservation had the statutory duty to protect the Njoki's crops from damage, which it failed.
The tribunal noted that according to the evidence adduced before them, Njoki had put in place measures to protect her crops against destruction by wildlife by fencing her farm with thorns, poles and barbed wire.
"We are of the view that a sum of Ksh180,000 is reasonable compensation for the Appellant(Njoki)," ruled the tribunal.
The woman had filed the suit contesting the decision by KWS to deny her compensation over the lack of a verification form even when its officers at Ewaso Nyiro visited the firm and confirmed all six acres had been destroyed.
KWS' compensation set aside
The tribunal further set aside an earlier decision by KWS to compensate Njoki Ksh64,800 for the destruction as she had spent more than Ksh20,000 per acre.
Njoki had stated that she was expecting between Ksh70,000 to Ksh75,000 per acre after harvesting the Maize which totals Ksh450,000 for the six acres.
Further, the woman told the tribunal that she had borrowed a loan to lease the farm and buy farm inputs.
Due to the destruction, Njoki said, she was not able to repay the loan on time.
"I have gone through a lot of life challenges as well as mental challenges because of this case. I have a right to compensation, " Njoki told the tribunal.
She argued that this was not the first time as the previous year antelopes invaded her farm and destroyed her maize and bean crops.