A MOTHER and her children had to flee their home at Otjiperongo in the Daures Constituency in the Erongo Region to look a safe hiding place after an elephant came close to their home looking for food and water.
One of the villagers, Robert Karibo, said that about 15 elephants and their calves were roaming near their houses during the day. He said when the sun sets none of the villagers can go out of their homes or sit outside in the evenings anymore because they know that the elephant will come.
There are many human settlements in the Erongo Region that attract the desert elephant population and when the territories of people and wildlife intersect, human wildlife conflict is unavoidable. One of the issues that causes the conflict is the sharing of water points between animals and humans.
“We have experienced this problem since 2007 but the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has not done anything and we are tired of running away from our own houses to go and hide away from the elephants. We are not even safe in our own homes any longer,” Karibo said.
Fabianus Hirikee Uaseuapuani, the chairperson of the Zeraeua Traditional Authority said that a committee from Office of the Prime Minister had a meeting on Monday with the villagers to discuss issue of human wildlife conflict.
Uaseuapuani said that the committee came to assess what has been done to curb the human wildlife conflict in the area.
Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said human-wildlife conflict management interventions remained high on the ministry’s agenda, and gave the assurance that the government will continue to put in place preventative measures to minmise such incidents in all affected areas.
“We recognise that living with wildlife often carries a cost. Increased wildlife populations and expanded ranges into communal and freehold farming areas have resulted in more frequent conflicts between people and wild animals, particularly elephants and predators in many areas.”
The Erongo and Kunene Regions are hot spots for conflict between communal farmers and wildlife, particularly elephants and lions.