National Council Standing Committee addresses human-wildlife conflict

30 Nov 2017 18:40pm
WINDHOEK, 30 NOV (NAMPA) – A National Council Standing Committee has recommended that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism spearhead relentless awareness campaigns in efforts to curb the rise of human-wildlife conflict.
The Standing Committee on Habitat, in its report tabled in the National Council on Thursday, stated that the line ministry has to be proactive in its response to human-wildlife conflict.
Amongst the recommendations contained in the report is a quicker response to cases of human-wildlife conflict by those concerned.
The committee suggested a host of practical solutions to the matter, such as the fencing-off of animal territories from human beings; reducing the number of animals to a manageable level; and the adoption of unconventional methods such as unmanned drones and fitting elephants with tracking collars.
The committee found that communities and animals directly compete for resources such as water and wild fruits, and conflict intensify.
“People descended on rivers to access water for consumption and also for food sources such as fish and some consumable water lilies,” the report states.
Human-wildlife conflict appear to take different forms in the various regions.
In the Zambezi Region, loss of life came about as a result of crocodile attacks when residents crossed rivers in search of greener pastures for their animals.
“Fishermen were always sitting on dugout canoes, and attacks on these traditional ferries were often perpetrated by hippopotamuses,” the report notes.
It further says the conflict in the Omatjete area of the Erongo Region takes on a different form, as attacks usually occur due to competition for grazing between the wild animals and domesticated ones.
As such, the standing committee recommended that animal territories in the Omatjete area be fenced-off to separate them from human beings.
“Electrify the Omatjete area to provide lighting to the residents. Also train residents on mitigating methods such as chilli plantations, chilli guns, stinging and stingless bees,” the report advises.