ETOSHA - In an attempt to ensure Omuntele communal area benefits from wildlife and tourism, the government has announced plans to form a second conservancy in Oshikoto region.
Oshikoto currently only has King Nehale, which is a relatively small conservancy, yet one with a large population of around 20 000 residents.
Omuntele constituency largely has villages bordering Etosha National Park, which is one of the key tourist attractions in Namibia.
The park is home to some of Namibia’s most iconic species and offers fascinating habitats and routes for tourists to explore.
Tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta applauded the residents in Omuntele constituency for protecting wildlife animals such as rhinos and elephants via police community.
He said once the conservancy is in place, it will create jobs and attract tourists. “I hope this process concludes immediately so this community starts enjoying fruits of conservation. It’s part of incentives we are giving to people so they don’t look at these animals as meat but as something they can derive benefits in a non-consumptive way. They can also pay school fees for their children, water supply, building clinics, electrification and other community needs,” Shifeta stated.
He said so far, Namibia has 86 community conservancies with programmes to derive benefits from conservation. He reasoned conservancies help with the protection of the environment.
Due to the close proximity to the part, community members in the constituency often encounter human-wildlife conflict. Thus, Omuntele constituency councillor Sacky Nangula said, they came up with an idea of a conservancy.
Nangula said there is a committee in place and they have submitted their documentation to Shifeta’s office. “The constituency has high unemployment. Once the conservancy comes into place, the community is going to benefit in terms of job creation. People understand what a conservancy is,” he said. Nangula further stated the Etosha fence upgrade will improve people’s lives in terms of human-wildlife conflict within the area, elaborating that community members normally host meetings with the ministry of environment officials on how to handle human-wildlife conflict.
“If wildlife comes out of the park and kill livestock or destroy mahangu fields, they would reach an amicable solution. Wildlife animals are dangerous. That is why the government saw a need to fix the fence to protect the lives of humans and their livestock,” Nangula noted.
Shifeta explained the ministry does not offer compensation to communities who lose their livestock due to wildlife animals. He clarified the ministry only offsets for losses and does not offer monetary compensation.
“I use to see millions coming on the table and everyone getting in the community. About 70% of that money only benefits cuca shop owners. No money is going to be given to communities. It will target community programmes. Communities should identify what challenges they have, such as clinics and water supply,” Shifeta maintained.
2020-02-25 07:04:36 | 7 months ago