Community members of King Kauluma in the Oshikoto region, whose livestock are constantly attacked and killed by marauding lions escaping from the adjacent Etosha National Park, are now forced to relocate their animals to other areas far away.
This is after two lions, which escaped from Etosha, attacked and killed a cow at King Kauluma on Sunday evening.
It is alleged the predators returned to the kraal on Monday night for another kill; however, the livestock was already moved to a different area.
The area stretching up to Oshivelo is vulnerable to predator attacks due to the proximity to the park.
“We found tracks when we woke up yesterday (Tuesday), a clear indication that they were on another killing mission. Luckily, we moved the livestock,” a concerned farmer Olsen Okaviyu told New Era yesterday.
“We are victims of attacks from time to time. On Sunday, they jumped into the kraal, killed one, while the rest of the cattle managed to flee. Therefore, we are calling upon the ministry to fix the fence so that no wildlife escapes.”
Okaviyu further claimed they have not seen any officials from the environment ministry, despite several reports since Sunday.
Meanwhile, environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda, disputed assertions that no officials responded.
“Our staff members have been on the ground for the past two days since the incident was reported. If they haven’t met the aggrieved farmer, it means they are still busy in the field monitoring the situation as well as fixing where the fence might be broken,” he said.
“Fixing of the fence is a daily activity we undertake to maintain, as it is often destroyed by wild animals; therefore it can’t be true that we are failing to fix it. Most of the time, you might find elephants have pushed the fence down or other animals have dug under the fence – then this allows predators and other wild animals to escape.”
In April this year, community members took it upon themselves to shoot and kill two lionesses, which formed part of a pride that killed six cattle, a horse and four goats in the Oshivelo area.
The ministry, through its Human-Wildlife Conflict Self-Reliance Scheme, compensates farmers for their losses.
The policy indicates that an amount of N$100 000 is paid for funeral expenses in the instance of death, while those injured by wild animals are paid N$50 000 and for loss of body parts, victims get N$30 000. For the loss of cattle, farmers get N$3 000; N$800 for a horse and N$700 for sheep, while compensation for a goat is set at N$500. “I would also want to appeal to the community not to take the law into their own hands… as this puts their lives in danger. This duty will be undertaken by our staff members as they tirelessly work towards resolving it,” he cautioned.