Seven killed in human-wildlife conflict

12 October 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Seven people were killed and 37 injured by wild animals during 2019/2020.

Almost 66% of the injuries and loss of life occurred in the Zambezi and the Kavango regions, while almost 80% of injuries and loss of life were caused by four species – hippos, leopards, crocodiles and buffalo.

This is according to the environment ministry's annual progress report, which said human wildlife conflict continued to be one of the most pressing challenges facing the ministry during 2019/2020.

It added that 89% of all human-wildlife conflict reports were investigated by ministry officials and a total of 84 problem-causing animals were successfully destroyed by either ministry officials or the affected party in order to minimise conflict.

These included 28 lions, 17 elephants and 12 baboons.



Livestock killed

According to the report, a total of 1 422 head of livestock were estimated to have been killed by wildlife.

The Kunene, Oshikoto, Zambezi, Oshana and Kavango East regions were particularly affected.

Lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs were responsible for the majority of livestock losses, while cheetahs, crocodiles and jackals were also notable contributors.

Meanwhile, an estimated 1 600 hectares of crop fields were destroyed by four species of wildlife, elephants, hippos, buffalo and zebras, the report said.

Kavango West was the worst affected region in terms of crop losses to wildlife, with 68% of all hectares lost, followed by Otjozondjupa (20%) and Zambezi (7%).

Elephants were responsible for 93% of the crop fields lost to wildlife.



Significant damages

“Significant damages to infrastructure such as fences, buildings, water tanks and pipes and reservoirs were also reported during the period under review,” the report said.

The ministry, through its Human-Wildlife Conflict Self Reliance Scheme, paid out more than N$4.347 million to conservancies during 2019 for livestock losses, crop damages, loss of human life or injury to humans.

According to the report, the ministry's staff routinely investigated human-wildlife conflict cases to verify information received and took appropriate action. This includes verification for the Human-Wildlife Conflict Self Reliance Scheme, the translocation or destruction of problem-causing animals, chasing wildlife back into national parks, the

deterring of problem-causing animals, the construction of ring trenches

and stone walls around reservoirs and water tanks, the recovery of human remains and awareness creation.

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