N$15 million paid for human wildlife conflict

Staff writer

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism has paid out N$ 15 126 402 on human wildlife conflict cases over the past three years.

This is according to statistics released to the Windhoek Observer yesterday by Romeo Muyunda, the ministry’s spokesperson.

The figures indicate that since 2019 to date the ministry has disbursed N$7 890 550 to conservancies, N$2 454 402 for livestock losses, N$2 291 450 for crop damages, N$2 000 000 for loss of life and N$490 000 for injuries caused by human wildlife conflict.

Furthermore, the statistics indicate that there were 20 case of people killed by wild animals and 39 injuries caused to humans through human wildlife conflict between 2019 and February 2022.

In addition, the figures show that between January 2019 and February 2022 the ministry has recorded 543 cases of crop damages and 673 case of livestock damage caused by wild animals.

According to the recently released Second National Integrated State of the Environment Report for Namibia, authorities killed 134 problem animals in 2020/2021 compared to 84 in 2019/2020.

The increase in the number of animals destroyed may be attributed to drought conditions and an increase in human-wildlife conflict.

Wildlife also causes damage to property such as fences, buildings, water tanks, pipes and reservoirs with most of the damage done by elephants and baboons, it said.

The report states that human-wildlife conflict continues to be one of the most pressing challenges facing the country last year.

Yesterday the ministry announced taking a decision to put down an eight to ten years old male lion, that has been terrorising communities in the Sesfontein and Puros areas.

“The lion has been notorious for killing people’s livestock since 2019: he has caught up to

12 cattle, 13 donkeys and 9 goats. The lion has on numerous times been observed moving

into people’s settlements at night, posing a threat to their lives. He was also displaying traits

that he was not scared of people,” said Muyunda.

In a case earlier in March the remains of a 26-year-old man were retrieved at Mupini village in the Kavango West region. It was reported that the man was killed by a crocodile while he was taking a bath in the Okavango River on Friday.

Detective inspector Raimbert Muronga, the head of Police community affairs division said

that the victim and his friends went to the river at around six o’clock in the afternoon to take a bath when he was fatally attacked by a crocodilian.

Muronga added that the crocodile has since been put down by the Namibian Police.

Last month, Ombudsman Basilius Dyakugha blasted the government for concentrating on ‘’conservation and prioritising tourism ahead of local people’s lives while not implementing concrete measures to mitigate human-wildlife conflict in the Bwabwata National Park’’.

He said the ministry of environment should do more to protect human lives.

Dyakugha stressed that people residing in and around the park have increased over the last 30 years and that animals and people are competing for natural resources. Thus, the Ministry of Environment should stop concentrating on paper or theory of conservation and ignore the needs of human beings who live in those areas.

By Observer