New design for Etosha fence upgrade on the cards

11 Dec 2018 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 11 DEC (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) is working on a new design for the boundary fence of the Etosha National Park in a bid to save costs and expedite the process of its upgrade.
In a media statement availed to Nampa on Tuesday, MET Spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda said after undertaking various missions to gain experience on how similar fences are being upgraded on game ranches and private farms both in Namibia and South Africa, the ministry has trimmed such findings to a design that could be best suited for the Etosha National Park.
Over the past six years, only 120 kilometres (km) of the 720km fence have been upgraded, while 600km are still to be fixed.
He said the estimated cost of the project will be reduced to N.dollars 240 000 per kilometre inclusive of labour and subject to the terrain.
This will bring the total amount needed for the completion of the fence upgrade to N.dollars 144 million.
Previously, the estimated cost of the project was N.dollars 1.8 million per kilometre.
“As with other projects, consultants will be appointed to complete the new design, actual costing, documentation and supervision,” he said.
The MET spokesperson noted that the proposed amount however still needs to be verified once a feasibility study is conducted on the new design.
Increasing damage to the southern and western fences of the national park has been observed in recent years due to activities by both elephants and communities, such that it is now in a dilapidated state and in need of urgent attention.
Muyunda further explained that there are fears that as the northern farming communities move closer to the Etosha National Park, this might result in an increase in human-wildlife conflict, poaching and illegal trespassing.
He said the upgraded fence will assist in reducing such poaching and human-wildlife conflicts that may have escalated due to the poor state of the fence.
“The Etosha National Park is our flagship park. Therefore, it is in our interests that this fence is completed to enhance conservation in the park,” he noted.