Human Wildlife Conflict policy under review

20 Sep 2016 14:50pm
OPUWO, 20 SEP (NAMPA) – Discussions between community members and officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism are underway in the Kunene Region for the review of the Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) policy.
The first consultative meeting with communities in Kunene was held on Thursday at Kamanjab, followed by another meeting at Opuwo on Friday.
The Director of Parks and Wildlife Management in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in the Kunene Region, Colgar Sikopo told Nampa the National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict of 2009 contains provisions that need to be addressed as soon as possible.
“Incidents reported over the years led to gaps in the policy, which if addressed will put us in a position to have the appropriate directives in place,” he said at Opuwo on Friday.
Sikopo said input is needed from all stakeholders to determine what people see as the appropriate measures to be implemented.
The consultations will be completed by the end of October, after which feedback will be forwarded to Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta, who will present it during the national workshop on HWC scheduled to take place in November.
Also speaking to this news agency on Friday was the ministry’s Deputy Director for the North-Western Regions, Christopher Munwela, who said issues at the upcoming conference will vary from region to region as different forms of conflict are experienced in each region.
“In order for us to address the problems we need to be specific and not nationalise the conflicts,” Munwela said.
Some of the concerns raised by farmers at the Opuwo meeting were that they want the ministry to be represented in all constituencies so it can be more easily accessible.
Others suggested that a ministry official be on duty at all times, as some incidents of this nature occur during the weekend when their offices are not operational.
There was also a suggestion that a toll-free number be established for farmers to report cases of HWC.
The farmers could however not agree on how the animals involved in such conflict should be dealt with.
Some felt the animal should be killed on the spot if found attacking livestock or a human being or destroying crops, while others felt it should be availed for trophy hunting and the money made from the trophy hunting be given to conservancies.
Sesfontein Constituency Councillor Julius Kaujova urged members of conservancies to arm themselves with in-depth knowledge of the policy as they deal with HWC the most.
Kaujova also raised concern about the growing number of lions in the region, suggesting that the ministry should find a way to control the number of lions to minimise the risk to farmers.