ONGWEDIVA – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) said the drought situation in the Etosha National Park is partly to blame for the escape of several wild animals reported in recent weeks.
The ministry said, like the rest of the country, the park has also received minimal rains - affecting both water and vegetation availability for the wild animals.
“We are also busy repairing the fence to avoid further breakouts, particularly now that this is a drought year, and very little rainfall was received in the park affecting water and grazing vegetation,” said MET Chief Public Relations Officer, Romeo Muyunda. In addition to the lack of rains at the park, a veld fire that broke out at Uuvudhiya grazing area towards the end of last year was also reported to have reached some parts of the park.
However, Muyunda said a veld fire in one area of the park alone could not entirely hamper the animals’ vegetation as the park is big.
Muyunda said the biggest contributor for the escape of the animals from the park is the damaged fence. “The northern side of the park was recently damaged by elephants and provides a pathway for animals to escape,” Muyunda said.
But Muyunda assured that the ministry is working on mending the fence.
Muyunda, in an interview with New Era last week, said the ministry has scaled down on the specifications to make the fence cheaper and is optimistic that there would be great progress within the current financial year.
Last week, reports of the escape of rhinos attracted attention on social media.
The two rhinos that were spotted in the Uukwiyu and Omuntele areas have both been recaptured and returned to the park. A week earlier, a zebra was spotted in Okalongo in Omusati Region.
He said other animals suspected to have escaped from the Sheya Shuushona and Iipumbu ya Tshilongo conservancies are being monitored by the MET officials until they have also been safely returned to the park.
2019-04-08 08:58:59 3 months ago