By: Justicia Shipena
The Government has paid N$24.1 million for losses caused by wild animals countrywide since 2019, the ministry of environment and tourism has revealed in its human-wildlife conflict update yesterday.
The ministerial spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said in 2021 the ministry, through the conservancy programme, employed a total of 3 548 workers, comprising of 998 community members employed in conservancies.
Muyunda said there are 774 full time and 62 part time people employed in joint venture tourism enterprises, 130 full time and 188 part time employed in the conservation hunting sectors while the rest are employed in small and medium enterprises.
He said conservancies generated cash income and in-kind benefits to rural communities totaling N$91.7 million which benefited over 238 701 community members.
Of these, conservation hunting generated N$25 952 651 with a meat value of N$9 267 048, while tourism generated N$ 53 838 083 as indigenous plants and other income generated N$1 029 191 and NS 1 658 805l, respectively.
However, Muyunda said incidences of human wildlife conflict remain a concern, stressing that they seem to overshadow the benefits and opportunities created for Namibians.
“These incidents mainly involve livestock losses, crop damages, loss of life and injuries both affecting the livelihoods of our people,” he pointed out.
Muyunda said the ministry has to date paid N$2 963 852 for livestock losses, N$2 569 200 for crop damages and N$640 000 for injuries since 2019.
The ministry also paid N$3 300 000 for loss of life from 2019 to date.
In the same period N$14 695 110 was paid to conservancies to offset human wildlife conflict losses to its members.
“Within the same period, the Ministry has administered 33 claims for loss of life of which 15 were in 2022 and 2 so far in 2023 with crocodiles, hippos and elephants being the main culprits.”
In terms of crop damages, he said 2 637 hectares were destroyed by wild animals of which 270 hectares was recorded in 2022 and 60 hectares so far in 2023 mainly by elephants.
Furthermore, a total of 862 livestock were killed by predators mainly crocodiles, hyenas, lions, wild dogs, leopard and jackals of which 204 was recorded in 2022 and nine in 2023.
He this year a total of 54 people were injured within the same period, 15 in 2022 and three in 2023.
Muyunda noted that to mitigate the impact of human-wildlife conflict, the ministry has developed a national policy on the matter. “The ministry would like to urge communities and property owners in human-wildlife conflict prone areas to put in place preventive and mitigation measures.”