Conservancy governance needs urgent attention
23 April 2018 | Environment
Speaking during his budget motivation in the National Assembly recently, Shifeta said conservancies in the communal areas have made important contributions to community livelihoods, biodiversity conservation and tourism development.
However, more needs to be done. “We shall continue to develop conservancies as a sustainable conservation and tourism development programme from which our rural communities can derive equitable social and economic benefits,” he said. According to Shifeta, the ministry will also continue to develop conservancies as a sustainable conservation and tourism development programme from which rural communities can derive equitable social and economic benefits. Shifeta further elaborated on wildlife crime in Namibia and said the government has been hard at work with the support of law enforcement agencies to implement measures and tactics to fight poaching in Namibia. According to Shifeta, Namibia experienced high levels of elephant and rhino poaching in the past few years. “In response to this, in the current financial year, a National Strategy on Wildlife Protection and Law Enforcement was approved,” said Shifeta. He said this strategy provides for specific measures and approaches on how to deal with the issue of wildlife protection and law enforcement in the country and is being fully implemented. Legislation that deals with wildlife protection and law enforcement matters, the Nature Conservation Ordinance, 1975 (Ordinance 4 of 1975), was also amended to increase fines and penalties for poaching of rhinos and elephants and other related offences. Similarly, the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act, 2008 (Act 8 of 2008) was amended to increase fines and penalties in possession of wildlife products, more particularly rhino horns and elephant tusks. Shifeta said the government will continue to fund efforts aimed to reduce poaching levels and protect the country's national heritage. A total of 14 rhinos have been poached in Namibia this year, making it almost one animal each week. Furthermore 23 elephants have been poached this year. Last year 35 rhinos and 23 elephants were killed by poachers. In 2016 a total of 61 rhino were poached while 95 rhino were poached in 2015 and 56 rhino in 2014. In 2016 a total of 101 elephants were poached, while 49 elephants were poached in 2015 and 78 elephants were poached in 2014. He further said human-wildlife conflict is an ongoing challenge. According to him, some local communities have lost their crops and livestock as a result of this conflict. Shifeta said the government continues to invest funds in the development and implementation of human-wildlife conflict mitigation measures aimed to curb the losses associated with this conflict.