Thursday, June 25, 2009

Namibia: Animals And People - Minimising Conflict

Absalom Shigwedha
25 June 2009

CLASHES between wild animals and people in Namibia have resulted in 48 human deaths since 2006, a senior conservationist in the Ministry of Environment Tourism said this week.

Colgar Sikopo, the Deputy Director of Parks and Wildlife Management, made a presentation on human-wildlife conflict in Windhoek on Tuesday evening.

He said 2007 saw the highest number of 18 people killed by wild animals, followed by 12 last year. In 2006, 11 people were killed and seven so far this year.

Crocodiles have taken the highest number of human lives, according to Sikopo.

Other animals that have killed people in this period are hippos, elephants, buffaloes, lions and snakes.

Sikopo said conflict between people and wild animals has always existed and cannot be eradicated, but can be managed.

This conflict mainly occurs when animals leave protected areas.

It can be managed by strengthening protected areas, removing problem animals and through research and monitoring.

Sikipo said the removal of problem animals can be done by increasing hunting quotas for communal conservancies, culling, creating additional quotas outside conservancies and the live capturing and sale of problem animals.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is finalising a human-wildlife conflict policy so that national and international commitments to conservation can be met while taking into account the rights and development needs of the people


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