KHORIXAS - Communities in Khorixas continue to suffer the brunt of human-wildlife conflict in former Damaraland known as Kunene Region. During 2017 alone farmers lost 270 cattle, 350 donkeys, 247 goats and 46 sheep, according to the latest statistics from the far north-western region.
This information was divulged during the working session between the Kunene Regional Governor Marius Sheya and residents of Kunene Region.
This is not the first time this community has cried out for help from authorities on the ever-present danger of wild animals attacking their livestock. The incident in July 2017 in which Ngeripurue Heuva was attached by a lion but luckily survived the ordeal was also relived.
The government had passed a law on compensation through the Human Wildlife Conflict Self-Reliance Scheme in April 2018 which is applicable to all Namibians. The compensation is divided into various categories for which N$100 000 is paid for funeral expenses in the instance of a death, while those maimed by wild animals are paid N$50 000 and for injuries or loss of body parts victims get N$30 000.
For the loss of a cow or bull claimants get N$3000, for the loss of a horse they get N$800, for loss of a sheep they get N$700 and for loss of a goat N$500 while for loss of a hectare communal farmers get N$1000 and N$250 for a quarter of a hectare.
The government offered to give an amount of N$60 000 in every recognised conservancy for the purpose of compensation and the local conservancies were tasked to top up. Some conservancies like Ehi Rovipuka of Otjokavare, the community are not willing to buy into the idea of the government instead they are concentrating on ploughing back to the community and use the money for example to build a dining hall at the local school Otjovarare combined school and they constructed a kindergarten at Oromauua Village.
“We tried to explain to the community the idea which was brought up the government but they totally rejected it. There was nothing that we could do about it and that is why we are using the N$60 000 that is being given by government for community projects,” said Muzuma Meundju the chairperson of Ovipuka Conservancy.
Nevertheless, the communities like in Berser Farm and the surrounding posts in Khorixas Constituency still claim that the lions, leopards and elephants cause them crop and livestock losses.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism came up with another resilience method of building game-proof kraals reinforced with nets that can prevent lions from entering and they cannot see the livestock inside these game-proofed fences.
*Selma Gumbo works as an Information Officer for Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Opuwo Kunene Region.