Environment and tourism minister, Pohamba Shifeta, has said although his ministry will meet halfway the financial costs for victims of wildlife conflict, but he will not entertain the complaints of those carrying out projects without an environmental clearance certificate.
Such projects are like irrigation schemes, farming units for instance which need an environmental management plan to avoid further conflict with wildlife.
The minister said this yesterday at the official launch of the revised national policy on human wildlife conflict management which provides framework for addressing conflicts between humans and wildlife efficiently to promote biodiversity conservation and human development.
“Now you have found animals there, now you come and do such a thing without informing our scientists to get an advice and allow to come with a plan to mitigate losses then later come to us and say, “Your animals are destroying”. It becomes now your animals and not our animals as a country?”
“Those that are not adhering to the law, in fact they are committing a crime because it is clear in the legislation and these are established criminal sanctions. I have directed the environmental commissioner; they were given already time to correct that. Some of them have started after the Environmental Management Act, Act No 7 of 2007,” said the minister.
Procedure does not allow any one to carry out huge projects where animals are found or along the migration path of animals.
Any one who does so and fall victim of wildlife attacks will not be financially assisted, Shifeta said, “We are not going to listen to anybody. It seems people are doing things in ignorance of the law.”
“As from today people who come here must come with an environment clearance certificate to come and complain that yes my irrigation is being damaged. We are not talking about household fields, but big projects that are put there and require environmental clearance certificates,” he said.
Shifeta indicated that although the ministry does not have a stand-alone budget for victims but his ministry often coughs out between N$10 000 to N$100 000.
He also pointed out that the ministry does not compensate anyone as there is no price tag to the value of human life but only assist with funeral arrangements or related financial costs that come with human wildlife conflict.
Shifeta took time to also rubbish latest social media reports over a lion that was destroyed at De Rust in Kenene on 16 June 2018 and was quick to point out that due to this, certified hunters will no longer be allowed to take photos of their “kill” and post on social media.