Human wildlife conflicts in Bwabwata dismay councillor

16 Sep 2017 13:20pm
DIVUNDU, 16 SEP (NAMPA) - Continuous reports of human wildlife conflict in the Bwabwata National Park are dismaying the Mukwe Constituency Councillor, John Thighuru.
Thighuru on Friday expressed concerns over the increasing incidences of human wildlife conflict reported to his office monthly by victims or concerned community members.
Thighuru was speaking at the official launch of the Bwabwata National Park Advisory Committee at Divundu on Friday.
The 40 member committee was officially launched by Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET), Tommy Nambahu.
According to Nambahu, the committee is tasked to advise MET on how best to solve and resolve the cases of human wildlife conflict in the park.
Bwabwata, situated in the Zambezi and Kavango East regions, is a multipurpose area where the San and Mbukushu have established villages within the park and practice their subsistence crop and livestock farming there.
Thighuru said the high concentration of elephants and buffalos in the area often results in direct conflict when animals come to destroy crop fields and sometimes attack and kill people in the park.
“I have 30 cases reported to the office this year alone. I don't even know how the people survive since their fields were completely destroyed by the animals.”
Thighuru said he was faced with a big challenge of wild animals and people co-existing in the same area.
He urged the new committee to advise the minister properly on how best human wildlife cases should be handled, and reminded the committee to remember those residing near rivers who sometimes suffer crocodile and hippo attacks.
“We [should] remember that people go to the river to fetch water and we cannot stop them if our Government has not provided them clean channelled water far from the rivers,” he said.
Thighuru, who is the former Kavango regional governor, said some Government policies need to be “relaxed” in cases of human wildlife conflict, adding that it is now for the newly created committee to do a good job and offer good advice to MET and its ministers.
He also asked committee members to start investigating the old and new cases of human wildlife conflict in the park and base their recommendations on that.
Director of Parks and Wildlife Management in the ministry, Colgar Sikopo on Friday told Nampa in an interview that about 6 000 people live in Bwabwata, where there is a high concentration of elephants and buffalos.
Bwabwata is a 6 274 square kilometre park consisting of the former Caprivi, Mahango and Kwando game parks.
The park was established in October 2007 by Government.