Kunene farmer converts shop into cattle shelter

21 Nov 2017 08:10am
WINDHOEK, 21 NOV (NAMPA) – Some farmers in the Kunene Region are now keeping their cattle and small livestock in buildings to protect them from lions.
In the past few weeks, lions in the Khorixas Constituency have reportedly killed over 200 goats and sheep. One farmer is said to have lost 136 goats to lions.
Ripanga Rupembo, a farmer in the Sesfontein Constituency, keeps his cattle in a building he intends to use as shop.
Rupembo said in an interview on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Otjiherero Service on Saturday he had 31 cattle and now only has two after lions killed the rest.
“I had no choice but to convert my shop into a shed to protect the remaining two cows I am left with,” he said.
Rupembo said he finds it difficult to support his family as his income is not enough to cover all the necessary expenses, including paying for the education of his children.
“While the government has declared war against poverty, some of us are pushed right into poverty by the conservancy policy which does not allow for the killing of lions (if they have not been declared to be problematic or a threat to human lives), while they kill our livestock,” Rupembo said.
He requested the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to translocate the lions to other areas, where they will not be able to cause so much harm.
Ngaisiue Muheue, who also farms in the Kamanjab area, told Nampa Monday they feel left out when they look at how MET reacts when a lion is killed compared to when a lion kills livestock.
“Our guns and traps are being confiscated and we are left without any means of defence against predators,” said Muheue.
A few weeks ago, Samuel Gawiseb, a communal farmer at Awantapos in the Torra Conservancy in Kunene, lost 86 goats and sheep to a pack of lions shortly after the same pride of lions killed another farmer’s 145 goats and 26 sheep days earlier.
A meeting will be arranged between MET, conservancies and the Kunene regional leadership to look into the issue of predators in the region, said Chairperson of the Kunene Regional Council, Julius Kaujova on Monday.
“I spoke to the chairperson of the Torra Conservancy, Tommie Adams, and we agreed on a meeting after the 6th national congress of the ruling party to discuss the challenges presented by predators to our farmers,” Kaujova told Nampa.
Asked why the meeting will only take place after the congress set for 23 to 26 November, Kaujova explained that most high-ranking officials whom they have to engage about the situation, including environment minister Pohamba Shifeta, are occupied by congress preparations.
He urged the farmers to be patient and to allow for proper talks to pave the way for an amicable solution.