The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism yesterday said they responded to a report about a Hippo that was found dead in the Muyako area, in a purported poaching incident. The Ministry’s Spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said that upon close inspection by staff members, it was found that the hippo had a bullet wound, adding that it was poached the previous night.
“When the team arrived, community members had already gathered in anticipation for the meat distribution exercise. The responding staff took the opportunity to educate the community on the importance of preservation and protection of natural resources.
The staff members spoke about how important the Hippos are to the community in terms of the meat distribution that happens occasionally, saying that if such incidences continue, they may affect the occasional meat distribution to the community that happens there, since the community is also in a conservancy,” Muyunda added.
Muyunda said that although it is uncommon for Hippos to be poached, they are usually poached because of their meat and teeth. Last month, another Hippo was killed in the same area, although its meat was also intact, he revealed. Muyunda added that another Hippo poaching incident was reported in the Ngoma area, still in the Zambezi region. In that incident, a suspect was apprehended.
According to Muyunda, the responding staff also spoke about the potential of the Muyako area in terms of tourism and how poaching would impact on the potential tourism activities that happens there, especially given the fact that hippos attract tourists to Namibia and the area of Muyako specifically. He added that the team additionally spoke about the element of ecological processes or natural processes that are affected when hippos are killed.
“The team also spoke to the village Headman who vowed to look into finding the responsible people. He, however, made reference to the fact that there are human-wildlife conflict cases involving Hippos, taking place in the area and this may be a case of community members taking the law into their own hands,which we do not encourage as a ministry. We would like to emphasize that when there is any incidences of human-wildlife-conflict, such incidences must be reported to either the ministry or to the conservancy so that they are dealt with in an amicable manner without people taking the law into their own hands,”Muyunda added.
Muyunda said the meat has since been removed from Muyako community and distributed to the San community, some 25 kilometers West of Katima Mulilo.
“The community there is in a destitute Situation as they are a vulnerable community. 90 percent of that community doesn’t work and therefore it was deemed necessary that we assist them with the meat and they appreciated the gesture,” Muyunda dded.