Committee suggests national campaign for mending of Etosha fence

13 Nov 2018 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 13 NOV (NAMPA) - The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources has called on the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to declare a voluntary national campaign for the mending of the Etosha National Park’s fence.
A draft report on its visit to Etosha in May this year, availed to the media on Tuesday, said the campaign will call on people to donate construction materials and avail free labour “as the Ministry of Environment and Tourism alone will take a long time to complete it.”
The report said the campaign will be fashioned along the lines of the national clean-up campaign and the construction of the northern railway.
“This will save costs and speed up the fence construction process,” the report said.
Over the past six years, only 112 kilometres of the fence have been upgraded and 712 kilometres are still to be fixed.
The report said the 118 kilometres of fencing was upgraded at a cost of N.dollars 176 million, while upgrades to the remaining 712 kilometres will amount to close to N.dollars 1.9 billion.
The committee further noted that the northern farming communities are moving closer to the Etosha National Park and this might result in an increase in human-wildlife conflict, poaching and illegal trespassing.
To combat poaching and to prevent domestic animals from entering the park, the committee proposed the establishment of a buffer zone between the park and surrounding farms which should be regularly patrolled.
The committee also said an agreement between the Ministry of Safety and Security and Ministry of Environment should be reviewed to ensure police officers assigned to the park for anti-poaching purposes receive sufficient and suitable food during their time in the field.
“Police officers are deployed without being provided with enough food and there is a lack of cooperation between the environment ministry’s staff and the anti-poaching police unit,” it noted.
It was recommended that the Ministry of Defence be engaged to see how they deal with their staff members who are deployed in the same areas.