Update laws on poison regulation

25 Feb 2015 10:20am
DIVUNDU 25 FEB (NAMPA) - The recent concluded workshop on the illegal poisoning of animals in the Zambezi Region came to an end last week Thursday with several optimistic solutions.
The worshop was aimed at finding long-lasting solutions on the management and control of the illegal poisoning of wildlife.
It also dealt with the effects of poisoning on the environment and other wildlife.
The workshop took pace at a resort close to Divundu in the Kavango-East Region, and was well-attended by several delegates from various government institutions such as the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) and the Namibian Defense Force (NDF), conservationist and lodge owners. International specialists from Kenya, Botswana and South Africa were also in attendance.
Mark Paxton, co-ordinator of the workshop and a conservationist himself, told Nampa that the idea of the meeting was also to engage a broad spectrum of knowledgeable persons to address the problem of illegal poisoning and to draw attention to the fact that there is a poisoning problem in Namibia that is primarily rearing it's head among wildlife.
''This is very close to become a human situation, where you will get nomadic people starting to die from picking up poisoned meat, or coming across an animal carcass meant for poisoning vultures' Paxton said.
Paxton said a variety of concerns were raised during the three day meeting, among them legislation and the obsolete laws pertaining the use, transport, manufacturing and selling of poisons. Some of the laws relating to poison control dates back to long before Namibia's independence 25 years ago. This situation is not unique to Namibia said Paxton.
Most of the poisoning of wildlife is done by farmers who want to get rid of animals like lions, hyenas and other predators that are harmful to their farming practices, while poachers often kill game by means of poisoning or lace carcasses with poison to kill vultures and prevent the birds from alerting authorities in the area.
A variety of concerns were raised during the workshop that was organised by Poisoning of Wildlife Action Group (POWAG) and sponsored by the American Embassy in Windhoek. Paxton said one of the concerns regarded indecisiveness on legislation and if the current legislation on poison is valid or not as many countries pertaining to poison control subscribe to legislation that dates back many years.
It also came to light during the workshop that many of the illegal poisons in the market across many African countries are imported from countries like China and are even sold without any control, while agricultural schemes are often also the culprits because they often use pesticides without taking the environment into consideration.
Paxton noted that the poison problem would never be solved. 'We are never going to solve the problem entirely (referring to illegal poisoning), we will never go without poison, we will always have poisons in our lives, but we can try to put some measures in place where we can control the use of poison and to stop the misuse of poisons and that includes legislation and control.”
On the future plans and way forward after the first POWAG workshop, Paxton wants to see that the distribution, sales and use of poisons are better regulated and actually controlled by relevant authorities.
He further added that although poisons will always be part of our lives, he would like to level down to no-poison use but since it will never happen, he would at least like to see better laws of poison regulation in some areas.