Ndiyona Constituency Councilor Laurentius Mukoya has called on the establishment of more conservancies in the two Kavango regions, saying before independence people were permitted to kill crocodiles and hippos.
This follows after the police in Ndiyona responded to an incident in which a 26-year-old man, who was working as a security guard at Shitemo Green Scheme, succumbed to injuries from a hippo attack at the Shitemo village on Tuesday,.
“Before Independence people were allowed to kill hippos and crocodiles and at least there were fewer attacks because if the crocodile is killed there won’t be many in the river. They will be reduced, and people were also allowed to eat hippo meat.
“But now the law has taken over where animals are protected more than human beings. If you kill a crocodile or hippo you will be serving jail time, and people are just given N$100,000 to compensate for the loss of their loved ones, but this money is not enough. The Ministry should add N$200,000 more. The Ministry should also trade with crocodiles and hippopotamus to make more money,” Mukoya told The Villager.
The crocodiles, found mostly in the two Kavango regions and the Zambezi, is a protected species under the Nature Conservation Ordinance (Ordinance 4 of 1975) as amended.
While the law was around before independence, it was not as strictly enforced, so much so that, according to research, during the 1960-1980 period, the crocodile population was under threat.
Namibia only allows a minimal trade in wild-taken skins of the crocodile, hunted as trophies.
Currently, there are six conservancies in the two Kavango regions.
According to Mukoya, a crocodile and hippopotamus project at the conservancy should be at least three square metres where tourists can come and see the animals.
The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism has said that it is working on modalities for the management of crocodiles, which could include hunting quotas.
“Last year there were numerous attacks at Katere, Hoha and Korokoko. The Ministry should also provide water among those living beside the tarred roads and alongside the river should get boreholes, this is because people are moving daily to fetch water, reeds and woods,” Mukoya said.
Last month, government announced plans to install 43 boreholes at villages which have been prone to crocodile attacks in the Kavango East and West regions.
Kavango East acting NAMPOL’s deputy Commissioner Eino Nambahu stated that the latest victim in a human-wildlife conflict was on a canoe paddling and as they were to approach the island where they wanted to collect firewood, the hippo attacked them.
The Environment Ministry’s spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said the incident is unfortunate and concerning to the Ministry, especially to the young man who had to lose his life in this manner.
“This is definitely not the intent for our conservation efforts but the ministry is going to compensate the family members of the deceased. This is the Ministry’s duty.”
Muyunda also urged parents and community leaders living along the rivers in the prone regions to keep away from the river.
He said the Ministry cannot afford to lose more people from these dangerous predators.