05 Jun 2013 04:40
By Tjikunda Kulunga
OPUWO, 05 JUN (NAMPA) ? The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) should consider awarding extra quotas to all conservancies to hunt wild animals which compete with livestock for grass.
This was the view of the Director of the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) organisation, John Kasaona, who told Nampa on Wednesday that killing wild animals could be a method of reducing their numbers because there is not enough grass in the fields for all animals due to poor rainfall.
The recommendation was formulated in April this year already during the Conservancies? Chairpersons? Forum in Windhoek, with the expectation that by June this year, such extra quotas would have been awarded.
?Animals are just as many as livestock, and they are competing for the same grass. So, the conservancies? chairpersons felt that due to the high numbers of animals in their conservancies, it would be appropriate to reduce some animals before they are killed by famine,? stressed Kasaona.
According to him, the Palm Wag Conservancy is more affected than others as it is also arid.
An expert in rangeland management and grass for the IRDNC, Dave Kangombe told this agency that conservancies west of Opuwo would be hard-hit due to the fact that they did not receive rainfall for two consecutive years.
He said the same way that the government is advising farmers to reduce their livestock numbers, is the same way in which conservancies are advising Government to reduce wild animals.
?If the animals are not reduced by August this year, they would die because of drought in the Kunene Region,? stated Kangombe.
Different conservancies in the Kunene Region have already received their yearly quotas, and are going to start with hunting in June this year.
The expectation is that if they receive extra quotas, members of the conservancies could hunt the animals while such animals are still in good condition, and the carcasses could thus fetch good prices.
According to Kangombe, some of the meat from the hunted animals could supplement the government?s drought relief food programme, as affected people are only given maize meal currently.
Namibia has 76 registered conservancies, of which 27 are in northern Kunene.
However, Colgar Sikopo, the director of Parks and Wildlife Management in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, told this reporter that the report from the Conservancies? Chairpersons? Forum has not reached their office yet, and there is nothing to be discussed on the matter at the moment.
?The report is supposed to be ready after three months from the meeting. So, everything or any recommendation made to the ministry can only be looked at after the report is ready,? he noted.
Sikopo did not want to reveal if the ministry would consider such a request positively.