OMATJETE - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has come to the rescue of Daures Constituency residents who live in constant fear due to the increased population of problematic elephants by providing water to the pachyderms.
There are many human settlements in the Erongo Region which attract the desert elephant population and when the territories of people and wildlife intersect, human wildlife conflict is unavoidable.
One of the issues that causes the conflict is the sharing of water points between animals and humans. Therefore, the ministry found it necessary that intervention and implementation of mitigation measures occurs. This is in effort to manage the conflict to protect ecosystem services, ultimately benefiting both humans and wild animals.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta during the commemoration of the Wildlife Day officially on Sunday handed over the water infrastructure to the communities under the continuous support of the ministry for water infrastructure to affected communities.
He said the ministry is has dedicated the day to give recognition to human wildlife conflict management interventions designed to promote wildlife conservation, contribute to improved community livelihoods and poverty eradication.
The ministry of environment and tourism has also upgraded and rehabilitated water infrastructure for communities in Omatjete in the Erongo Region and constructed elephant dams to mitigate the impacts of human wildlife conflict.
Shifeta said Namibia’s elephant population has grown from an estimated 7 500 animals in 1995 to over 24 000 to date.
However, he noted there are still many challenges and opportunities, as human wildlife conflict is another contest.
“Government through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism recognises that living with wildlife often carries a cost, with increased wildlife populations and expanded ranges into communal and freehold farming areas resulting in more frequent conflicts between people and wild animals, particularly elephants and predators in many areas. This has resulted in livestock and crop losses, damage to water installations and in some instances, loss of human lives,” he said.
According to Shifeta, their focus has been on the upgrade and rehabilitation of water infrastructure for communities and the provision of alternative water to elephants. In this regard, he said 11 boreholes have been rehabilitated, eight boreholes were installed with new solar pumps and four elephant dams have been constructed.
Further, the ministry constructed a storage facility for communities to store their supplementary feed for their livestock.
Equally, three elephants have been collared so as to monitor the movements of elephants in the area and provide early warning to communities on the presence of elephants in the area.
He maintained human/wildlife conflict management interventions remains high on the agenda and programmes of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
“We will continue to put mitigation and preventative measures for human and wildlife conflict in place in all affected areas of our country. We will continue to manage human wildlife conflict in a way that recognises the rights and development needs of local communities, recognises the need to promote biodiversity conservation, promote self-reliance and ensures that decision-making is quick, efficient and based on the best available information,” he pledged.
Shifeta thanked the German Government through GIZ under the Support to Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Project in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for having provided co-funding to the ministry for these human wildlife conflict management interventions they handed over to the communities.
2019-03-07 09:30:04 4 months ago