Kunene village seeking solutions to elephant water problem

24 Sep 2013 04:10
OPUWO, 24 SEP (NAMPA) – The community of Otjomukandi village, about 70 kilometres south of Opuwo in the Kunene Region, has called on the government to assist them with diesel fuel so that they can supply water to elephants at the community water points.
The traditional leader of Ovijapa Traditional Authority, Uaisire Tinda made this plea to the government during an interview with Nampa on Monday.
“We have a problem of elephants at Otjomukandi village. The elephants are emptying our water tanks and destroying the facilities at our water points almost every day. This is very worrisome,” said Tinda.
He said community members who own livestock at that village, including pensioners, are now forced to contribute money for the purchase of diesel fuel just to supply the elephants with water.
“The government should also start assisting us by giving diesel for the elephants to have water rather than leaving that whole responsibility in the hands of the community members,” said Tinda.
According to the traditional leader, more than 30 elephants drink water from the Otjomukandi community water point every day.
The Chief Warden in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)’s Department of Wildlife Management at Outjo, Siegfried /Awiseb told Nampa in a telephonic interview on Monday that the MET is aware of the elephant situation at Otjomukandi village.
He said plans to address the problem at Otjomukandi are being considered, but the supplying of diesel was out of the question as it is not sustainable.
According to /Awiseb, the provision of diesel fuel to assist in the pumping water for elephants is an idea which was tested previously, but it was phased out after the MET realised that it was not sustainable.
“Another project which the ministry is thinking about is the construction of elephant protection walls around water points in villages that have many elephants. We also want to take the water to another area, away from the community water points so that we can avoid the human-wildlife conflict,” said /Awiseb.
He added that another alternative to the provision of the diesel fuel is to put up solar-powered water pumps in the affected villages.
/Awiseb said all these projects need a lot of money. The ministry is also looking to identify all the villages with similar problems before they could source funding for the implementation of these projects at priority villages.