Land hungry people affecting conservancy efforts
Nature conservation has become a national commitment for Namibia but nature enthusiast, Michiel Jacobs has laid the blame on land hungry people for frustrating conservation efforts.
“Any education in resort management or agriculture need to play a big role in the allocation or buying of land. We must understand the power and responsibility we have to other Namibians and the economy as a whole to use the land wisely and productively,” he advises.
Jacobs together with the now famous crime fighting and naturalist, Sheriff Sean Naude recently attracted curious attention when The Villager reported that they caught the longest Angolan Cobra ever recorded.
Said Jacobs, “The Biggest obstacle is the fact that money plays a big role in hunting, trophies, hides, horns and tusks. Though it also makes up a large part of foreign income to the economy, poaching and illegal trade is alive and active all around Namibia.”
However, pressed on how far Namibia had gone in the area of nature conservation, he said it was no secret that the “greatest recovery story in Africa” is held in this part of the continent.
“Over 42% of Namibia is under conservation management, which includes national parks and reserves, private nature reserves, community forests, communal and commercial conservancies.”
“Elephant population doubled from 7500 in 1995 to 16000 in 2008 and we pride ourselves with the largest free roaming population of Cheetahs in the world. This is a very prestigious achievement made by Namibia,” he said.
He however does not think that human/animal conflict poses any danger to conservation “as long as we do not promote it,” he says.
“Controlling numbers of a species forms part of conserving. Too many of a species is also not sustainable for the environment. This can be controlled by relocating, hunting or even killing a problem animal. That’s why it’s important to educate ourselves to take the correct decision when encountering a wild animal,” says Jacobs.
With a lot of snakes being killed by people, this publication wanted to establish how best the fear for reptiles could be demystified in order to save as many as possible.
“Reverts back to educating yourself to know which snakes are dangerous or not and when to kill a snake. For many people this is a creepy subject and prefers to stay away or just kill all snakes they encounter. A better solution is to control mice and rodents. Most snakes come into residential areas or farm sheds looking for food. Controlling mice and rats will minimize snakes in the area,” he says.
He says the fear for snakes and human impulse to kill them at first sight derives from the mysteries of religion and has made the killings more common.
“Like every topic there will be people that show an interest in it or not. Unfortunately, the fear outweighs the understanding and until we make a conscious decision to understand, the fear will always be there,” he says.
Does he think climate change is real, given the debates around the subject and how the US president, Donald Trump has been on record stamping that it is nothing but a “hoax”?
“This is not so much relevant to conservation, but taking everything into account I do not think Namibia is in any danger. The debate that the gap in the ozone layer is not responsible for global warming is frightening enough to think about. We are actually in a very advantageous position being able to use solar, wind and hydro renewable energy resources. This will become the standard use of energy around the world,” he says.
Jacobs is an entrepreneur that help new entrepreneurs achieve ideas and a blogger that tries to promote Namibia, tourism, conservation, the decision to support local business and to be the change you want to see in the world.
He can be followed on Facebook (Michiel Jacobs), Instagram (Michieljac)and YouTube (Michiel Jacobs).