Environment ministry celebrates World Wildlife Day with handover

04 Mar 2019 14:10pm
WINDHOEK, 04 MAR (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism celebrated World Wildlife Day with a handover of water infrastructure to help mitigate human-wildlife conflict in the Ohungo conservancy at Omatjete on Sunday.
Speaking at the handover, Environment and Tourism Minister, Pohamba Shifeta said living with wildlife carries a cost and leads to livestock and crop losses, damage to water installations and in some instances, loss of human lives.
“Increased wildlife populations and expanded ranges into communal and freehold farming areas resulting in more frequent conflicts between people and wild animals, particularly elephants and predators in many areas,” Shifeta said.
The minister noted that the inhabitants of Omatjete have had many encounters with elephants in search of water.
“It is for that reason that we chose to come and celebrate this day here at Omatjete in the Erongo Region, where we have upgraded and rehabilitated water infrastructure for communities and constructed elephant dams to mitigate the impact of human-wildlife conflict,” Shifeta said.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry will supply and support the water infrastructure to communities, while the Ministry of Environment and Tourism will do the same for the elephant dams.
The environment ministry rehabilitated 11 boreholes and installed new solar pumps for eight boreholes, while four dams for use by elephants have been constructed. Previously, people and animals in the area used the same dams and this would lead to conflict.
A storage facility for the community to store supplementary feed for their livestock was also built.
Speaking at the same event, the United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative, Izumi Morota-Alakija noted that when the territories of people and wildlife intersect, human-wildlife conflict is unavoidable.
“It is therefore necessary that intervention and implementation of mitigation measures happens, in efforts to manage the conflict to protect ecosystem services, ultimately benefiting the planet and people,” she said.
Morota-Alakija commended the initiative to provide boreholes that can supply water to multiple water points and lead wildlife away from human settlements.
“It is indeed possible to live in harmony with wildlife. By managing wildlife, humans are not only preserving the environment, but also maintaining a healthy world in which to live.”
World Wildlife Day is observed on 03 March to celebrate and raise awareness of wild fauna and flora.