Population of wild horses grows

The environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said the population of wild horses in Namibia currently consists of 40 stallions, 31 mares and 15 foals.

13 February 2020 | Others

ELLANIE SMIT







The number of wild horses in southern Namibia has increased since the introduction of a horse management plan by the environment ministry.

There are currently 86 wild horses in the Aus area of the //Karas Region, compared to 73 last year.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said the population consists of 40 stallions, 31 mares and 15 foals.

He added that the horses are doing well with the strategies the ministry has put in place.

The management plan, introduced last November, stated that these horses lack the conservation status of wild animals, but they are recognised for their value to the tourism industry.

The management plan therefore set out six management strategies which include zonation, management and tourism development, supplementary feeding and water provision, predator management, research and monitoring, public awareness, stakeholder engagement and coordination.

The horse population had shrunk in recent years because of drought and predation from spotted hyenas.

Shifeta further said that human-wildlife conflict had become more frequent and severe because of human population growth, wildlife population growth, unplanned agricultural activities and expansion of agricultural and industrial activities, which, together, have led to increased human encroachment on previously wild and uninhabited areas.

“Competition for the available natural habitats and resources has increased. Moreover, the effects of climate change are exacerbating these conflicts,” said Shifeta.

According to him, the situation was worsened by the drought in most parts of the country in 2019.

Shifeta said a variety of approaches had been implemented to manage the conflict.

These approaches included strategies to prevent the conflict from occurring, protection strategies that are implemented when the conflict is certain to happen or has already occurred, and mitigation strategies that attempt to reduce the impact and lessen the problem.

“We will continue to implement the policy and put in place mitigation, preventive and protective measures so that we manage human-wildlife conflict in a way that recognises the rights and development needs of local communities and farmers while at the same time recognising the need to promote biodiversity conservation,” Shifeta said.

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