Policy on human-wildlife conflict management to be reviewed

27 May 2016 12:30pm
WINDHOEK, 27 MAY (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism intends to review the national policy on human-wildlife conflict management to determine new ways in which the problem can be addressed.
Speaking at a media briefing here on Thursday, Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta said the new policy should focus on affected areas and specific forms of conflict should be addressed.
Four people lost their lives in Namibia over the past five months due to human-wildlife conflict, while 109 livestock were killed by wild animals and 218 hectares of crops were destroyed during the same period, the minister said.
Shifeta said the policy should also have an implementation plan that outlines the human and financial resources required to deal with the problem.
“Addressing human-wildlife conflict requires striking a balance between conservation priorities and the needs of people who live with wildlife,” he stated.
Shifeta noted that most Namibians depend on the land for their subsistence. However, the presence of many species of large mammals, combined with settlement patterns of people, leads to conflict for rural communities and farmers.
He said one of the approaches to manage the conflict is prevention strategies which endeavour to avoid the conflict occurring in the first place and take action toward addressing its root causes.
Other approaches are protection strategies that are implemented when conflict is certain to happen or has already occurred, as well as mitigation strategies that attempt to reduce the level of impact and lessen the problem.
Shifeta pledged his ministry's commitment to managing human-wildlife conflict in a way that recognises the rights and development needs of local communities and promotes biodiversity conservation and self-reliance.
In order to achieve this, the ministry will continue to work with communities and farmers to develop and implement appropriate mitigation and monitoring methods and develop the capacity of all stakeholders to manage human-wildlife conflict.
“We are very much aware that these situations clearly need to be brought under control. We have engaged stakeholders including the local authorities, farmers’ associations, traditional leaders, communities and other stakeholders in areas to seek appropriate measures to reduce and mitigate such conflict,” he said.
Shifeta added that additional measures have been proposed such as proper livestock management; land use planning; fencing, wildlife population management, and the resettlement of people who live in conflict hot spots.