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KWS rescues, relocates privately bred crocodiles in Malindi

Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) on December 30, 2023, rescued and relocated crocodiles from a private property in Kilifi County after residents raised concerns about the animals roaming freely near residential areas.

The raid came after Kileleshwa Member of County Assembly (MCA) Robert Alai shared a video on X (formerly Twitter) showing one crocodile basking in broad daylight along a dirt road.

He said that it was posing a threat to the lives of the locals and further claimed that the reptile was among crocodiles being reared by a British national.

“These Crocodiles roam the neighbourhood and are a menace to locals. Kindly intervene and stop before someone is mauled,” Alai wrote in a video clip that has since attracted over 50,000 views on X.

In response, KWS mounted an operation on the property and said that they had recovered 24 crocodiles as well as seven tortoises.

Some were relocated to Mamba Village in Mombasa while others were transported to Nairobi.

“Kenya Wildlife Service successfully relocated 24 crocodiles and 7 tortoises from the Malindi Crocodile Farm to Mamba village. Among them, 4 crocodiles, 1 Aldabra tortoise, and 6 leopard tortoises will be settled in their new home at the KWS Nairobi Animal Orphanage,” KWS said.

KWS regulates, monitors, and evaluates anyone intending to rare crocodiles and one has to apply for a licence stating where he will get his initial stock.

KWS officials will then visit the farm to inspect it and a licence will be issued.

KWS allows the farming of crocodiles, tortoises, chameleons, ostriches, frogs, lizards, guinea fowl, quails, snails and butterflies.

“Wildlife farming is a viable economic enterprise that encourages the conservation of Kenya’s wildlife species as well as their natural habitats,” it says on its website.

The custodian of Kenya’s wildlife explained that it permits the captive breeding and ranching of the listed wild animals and plants for commercial use, wildlife sanctuary and conservancy for ecotourism, recreation and education enterprise.

KWS, however, enforces strict measures on people found in possession of wildlife trophies, people found to have killed or injured wild animals and also those found to be involved in poaching.

The wildlife Conservation and Management Act carries a life sentence for those involved in the illegal killing of endangered or threatened species.

In September, the government set aside Sh1.1 billion to compensate victims of human-wildlife conflict, according to Tourism and Wildlife (now at Ministry of EAC, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development) Cabinet Secretary (CS) Peninah Malonza.

According to Malonza, the money would go towards clearing the backlog of claims totalling 2,600, even as she announced that the Tourism ministry was working on a strategy for ensuring timely compensation going forward.

The CS said the Ministry had also disbursed Sh900 million to claimants who had waited for the last 14 years to be compensated.

Cases of wildlife-human conflicts have been on the rise, increasing the compensation burden on the state.

Experts link the trouble to humans encroaching on animals’ territories, leading to frequent attacks and the loss of properties and lives.

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