Communities at risk

Human-wildlife conflict ‘being addressed’

11 March 2021 | Environment

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism is intensifying its efforts to address the current increasing devastating human-wildlife conflict incidents in some parts of the country.
Presenting his statement in the National Assembly on Wednesday, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said a number of human-wildlife conflict incidents involving elephants, lions, buffaloes, and wild dogs have been reported, causing damage to crops, livestock, water infrastructure, and homesteads.
The human-wildlife conflict is distressing inhabitants in areas such as Ehirovipuka and Kamanjab in the Kunene region, in Ruacana and Okahao of the Omusati region; and in Okongo, Nehale Lya Mpingana and Eengonid in the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions respectively.
In Otjozondjupa, the conflict was recorded in the Grootfontein commercial areas, while in the Kavango West region, it was recorded in areas around Khaudum National Park and Bwabwata National Park. Other areas where the conflict was registered include Omatjete in the Erongo Region and many parts of the Zambezi Region.

Measures
Shifeta said the ministry has specific mitigation and preventative measures put in place to manage the conflict, which includes the process of selling some of the elephants to reduce the elephant population in specific hotspots.
The ministry is also capturing and relocating animals to national parks or areas where they cannot cause problems, adding that alternative water points for elephants have been set up at a distance far away from homesteads.
“Where necessary, destruction of the specific declared problem causing animals will be done. We recently put down three lions in the Omusati region,” he said, adding that for long-term management, the ministry is currently mapping out wildlife corridors to determine or make known the movement areas of wild animals to prevent human-wildlife conflict.
However, Shifeta also warned that with good rains in certain parts of the country, the river levels are rising and floods are already experienced in some areas, causing crocodiles, hippos, snakes, and other animals to move with the water, thus community members should take caution.
Shifeta also explained that addressing human-wildlife conflict requires striking a balance between conservation priorities and the needs of people who live near the wildlife.
“Human-wildlife conflict needs to be managed in a way that recognized the right and development needs of local communities and farmers, recognizing the need to promote biodiversity conservation, promote self-reliance and ensure that decision making is quick, efficient, and based on the best available information,” he said. – Nampa

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