The recent three-day National Conference on Human Wildlife Conflict Management has recommended that rural communities take ownership of conservancies and reduce control by non-members.
This is included in the summary of the resolutions that were made during the country’s first National Conference on Human Wildlife Conflict Management deliberations.
Minister Of Environment, Forestry and TourismPohamba Shifeta promised that a detailed report of the conference will be produced, while emphasising that what is most important now is to put the resolutions into action.
“I want to see that resolutions of this conference are part of our work plans for this financial year,” Shifeta said.
He indicated the conference made emphasis on creating an understanding that human-wildlife conflict is not the responsibility of the government alone, and therefore communities and all other stakeholders should get involved.
At the end of the conference, the Minister said the stakeholders suggested a different ownership structure for conservancies in the country, saying the conservancies should not be controlled by those who are not members.
“Rural communities should take ownership of conservancies and not be controlled by those who are not members,” Shifeta quoted from the resolutions.
Part of the revenue generated by conservancies should be used for human-wildlife conflict management mitigation measures.
He said the conference also agreed that there must be continued engagement between the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism and the people that are affected.
Continuous awareness on the importance of biodiversity conservation and benefits to communities, farmers and the country in general need to be conducted by the Ministry and its supporting partners.
The conference, he said, notedthe increasing number of wild animals across the country and the need to manage populations at acceptable levels.
According to Shifeta, this should be done through sustainable utilisation for meat and income generation activities to those affected specifically and the country in general.
He explained that “the understanding is that when benefits are visible and tangible, people will appreciate and embrace coexistence with wildlife”.
The conference has also recommended National Parks, likeBwabwata where communities are allowed to live in, should be free from illegal human settlement, as such settlement may have a negative effect on wildlife movement and cause human-wildlife conflict.
Similarly, veld fires in National Parks should be managed and controlled not to disturb the movements of wild animals.
Border patrols should be conducted, and where necessary remove fences that may hinder the movements of game and make wild animals like elephants concentrate in specific areas without maintaining their migratory routes and therefore causing more problems.
Shifeta said the conference asked for the country to come up with a strategy for prospecting and mining in wildlife-concentrated areas.
“So that such activities do not disturb the movement of wildlife and cause more human-wildlife conflict,” he pointed out.
Beyond the basics, the conference also looked into sustainable insurance coverage for human-wildlife compensation for losses, and investigated the viability of 24 hours reporting period for livestock killed by wild animals.
Minister Shifeta was asked to consider establishing offices in affected areas to provide speedy, efficient and effective services to rural communities and farmers.
The conference called for the intensified implementation of management methods and techniques which includes the provision of water to game, provision of water to communities,as well as the identification and maintenance of wildlife corridors.
It further called for collaring of wild animals, putting down problems-causing animals, translocation of the problem-causing animals to appropriate areas, building of stronger livestock predator-proof kraals and providing resources to aid community-based interventions.
The stakeholders have called for the development and implementation of integrated land use management plans for each region and ensure that there is a predator-prey balance in all areas among other management methods.
The conference was attended by Cabinet Ministers, Regional Governors, Chairperson of Regional Councils,senior Government officials, Chief Regional Officers, Constituency Councilors, Traditional Authorities, and representatives of communal conservancies.
The community forests, farmers, non-governmental organisations, researchers, institutions of high learning,and members of the public also attended physically and through our online platforms.