Higher payouts for wildlife conflict

A parliamentary standing committee has recommended a drastic increase in compensation paid for losses to wild animals.

30 November 2017 | Environment

It has been recommended that the compensation for a person killed by a wild animal should be increased to N$500 000 and N$10 000 be paid out for funeral arrangements.

The National Council Standing Committee on Habitat has recommended massive increases in compensation for human-wildlife conflict. This is even though the environment ministry has proposed its own increases in the revised human-wildlife conflict policy.

In the revised policy the ministry has proposed increases which include N$100 000 for loss of human life, up from the current N$5 000.

The committee tabled its report on wildlife conflict, covering the Zambezi, Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati, Kunene, Kavango East and West and the Erongo regions, in the National Council this week.

It also said that a trust fund should be established that would pay allowances of N$500 per month to toddlers and N$1 000 to school-going children whose parents were killed in incidents of wildlife conflict.

The committee recommended compensation between N$8 000 and N$15 000 per cow killed by wildlife, and between N$10 000 and N$25 000 for stud bulls.

Currently N$1 500 is paid out for either a cow or bull and the ministry has proposed that this be increased to N$3 000.

The committee has also recommended that farmers should be compensated N$1 000 for calves (0-6 months) and N$2 500 (6- 12 months). The ministry currently does not pay compensation for calves killed by predators.

The committee also recommended that the amount for goats be increased to N$2 000, sheep to N$2 200 and horses to N$5 500.

At the moment the compensation for a goat is N$200, for a sheep N$250 and a horse N$500.

The committee further said that more than N$6 000 per hectare should be paid out for crops destroyed by wildlife. This amount is currently N$800 per hectare and the ministry has proposed to increase it to N$1 000.

The report found that the majority of those interviewed on wildlife conflict were dissatisfied with the compensation.

“The offset amounts were seen to be a joke in the face of the market value of the livestock.”

It said the current offset initiative did not include injuries sustained by residents following an attack by a wild animal. The committee proposed an amount of N$5 000.

According to the report market-value compensation would not be possible for the government and therefore the focus should not be on paying compensation but rather on preventing human-wildlife conflict.

It said people who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder needed counselling to help them come to terms with their encounter with a wild animal.

According to the report, the majority of communities expressed dissatisfaction with the intervention efforts that were made by staff members of the ministry in response to human-wildlife conflict.

“The quick response offered to wild animals when compared to human beings was vehemently ridiculed by all hearings held in Zambezi, Kavango East and Kunene.”

The report says in the case of attacks perpetrated by hyenas, lions and leopards, any delay by ministry officials meant that evidence such as tracks was lost. That meant that no compensation claims could be submitted.

The report found that property losses resulted from invasions of crop fields by elephants, wildebeest, buffalo, kudus, hippos, porcupines, baboons and monkeys.

At Khorixas, Otjozongombe and Omatjete, elephants ransacked storage rooms where livestock feed or harvested grains were kept.





According to the report communities living at Otjozongombe and Omatjetje are restricted to their homesteads after dark because they fear elephants.



ELLANIE SMIT

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