Ministry mulls huge increase in wildlife compensation

14 September 2017 | Environment

The environment ministry is recommending that compensation in cases where a person is killed by wild animals be increased to N$100 000.

According to the ministry's director of wildlife and parks, Colgar Sikopo, incidents of human death due to wildlife conflict could be compensated with N$100 000 if the cabinet approves the revised national policy on human/wildlife conflict management.

The existing policy, adopted in 2009, provides for compensation of N$5 000, paid from the Game Products Trust Fund (GPTF), to cover funeral expenses.

“These payments are in cases where a person is killed by a wild animal as long as such incidents meet the criteria,” Sikopo said.

“This amount is intended to support the family with the cost of a coffin and basic expenses associated with the funeral, or if the body is not recovered, a memorial service.”

According to Sikopo the revised policy is now with the minister for submission to cabinet.

Human-wildlife conflict in Namibia has become more frequent in recent decades as a result of human and wildlife population growth, unplanned agricultural activities and expansion of agricultural and industrial activities, which have led to increased human encroachment on previously wild and uninhabited areas.

Due to these challenges, it has become imperative that the national policy on human-wildlife conflict management should be reviewed.

Statistics released by the ministry earlier this year showed that 39 people had been killed by wild animals between 2014 and 2016, and seven already by March this year. Last year, four people were injured by wild animals, including two employees of the environment ministry.

As for livestock, 545 cattle, 79 sheep, 291 goats and 15 donkeys were killed by wild animals in 2016. So far this year, 46 cattle and nine goats have been killed.

With regard to crop damage, there were 71 incidents reported in 2016 and 21 this year.

ELLANIE SMIT

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