A Kunene farmer, who was left to count the cost after a pride of lions killed 76 of his small stock, comprising 66 goats and 10 sheep, will be compensated N$40 000 as per government policy.
Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda yesterday said the authorities have noted the regrettable incident in which the farmer lost so many livestock at once.
The incident happened around the Khoadi conservancy last week at Leeukop near Grootberg. The environment ministry staff, stationed in Khorixas, attended to and investigated the scene.
It is alleged that one of the lions is collared, although there were no early warnings.
Therefore, he said, in line with the National Human-Wildlife Conflict Management Policy’s self-reliance scheme, the farmer will be paid N$40 000.
The policy has introduced the human-wildlife self-reliance scheme for offset payments under strict conditions.
A case in point is loss of livestock and must be reported within 24 hours and verified by the environment ministry or by a conservancy game guard, and payments will not be made if reasonable precautions were not taken. “We are aware of the concerns that the set amounts as per policy are insufficient. For this reason, we wish to clarify that Namibia does not have a policy for compensation of damages caused by wild animals. The amounts paid by the ministry are simply to assist farmers who are affected by human-wildlife conflict incidences and not necessarily to pay for the value of the damage of loss,” Muyunda clarified.
Equally, the ministry informed the public that the policy for human-wildlife conflict management was put in place in 2009 – and in 2018, the rates were revised and improved. The policy further allows the minister responsible to adjust payments rates from time to time, depending on available financial resources. “As a responsible ministry, we sympathise with the affected farmer and we will continue to engage farm owners and community members in implementing measures to manage and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts,” he commiserated.
To improve the management of lions in the country, the ministry commissioned the development of 10-year lion conservation and management strategy.
In this regard, he reported the development process has started; all key stakeholders, including farmers and rural communities, will be consulted in the development process.
In the immediate and short-term, Muyunda said the ministry is also implementing a programme for strengthening and developing predator-proof livestock kraals, especially in the affected areas of Kunene and Erongo regions.
So far, he stated, 25 kraals have been constructed from the beginning of this year and it is within our plans for this year to construct 100 more to prevent lions from attacking livestock in kraals.
The ministry advised farmers and communities to conduct good animal husbandry, which is even worsened by the drought situation in the Kunene region.
Moreover, the public has been requested to note that the ministry is paying for human-wildlife conflict incidences with support from the Game Product Trust Fund and other external development partners.