Over 30 people die in human-wildlife conflict

Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta revealed that a total of 33 people have died as a result of the human-wildlife conflict from 2019 to date.

Shifeta, in the National Assembly, while giving an update on the current status of human-wildlife conflict in the country on Thursday said a total of N.dollars 3.3 million was paid towards the loss of lives, with crocodiles, hippos and elephants being the main culprits.

He said since 2019 a total of N.dollars 24.2 million (N.dollars 24 168 162) was paid towards losses caused by wild animals, noting that N.dollars 2.9 million was paid towards livestock, whilst N.dollars 2.5 million for crop damages and N.dollars 650 000 for injuries sustained by people.

Shifeta further revealed that in terms of crop damage 2 637 hectares were destroyed by wild animals, mainly by elephants, whilst, a total of 862 livestock were killed by predators mainly crocodiles, hyenas, lions, wild dogs, leopards and jackals. A total of 54 people were injured within the same period.

“Human-wildlife conflict is a serious issue within our communities. The incidents have intensified following the ministry’s successful wildlife management strategies that have led to growth in wildlife populations outside protected areas, however, the situation is worsened by recurrent droughts across the country leading to increased competition over resources and space between people and wild animals,” he noted.

The minister went on to say that the ministry together with other stakeholders are involved and implemented measures such as elephant and lion collaring; early warning system; lion ranger programme; construction of predator-proof kraals; translocation of problem-causing animals; declarations and putting down of problem causing animals and wildlife population management.

The ministry will host a national conference in May 2023, where stakeholders will dissect the issue of human-wildlife conflict and propose a long-lasting solution to address it.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency