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Conservancy struggling to compensate farmer for loss of 33 goats

Conservancy struggling to compensate farmer for loss of 33 goats

Niël Terblanché

THE management committee of the Torra Conservancy, already struggling financially, will have to fork out more than N$23 000 to compensate a communal farmer for 33 goats that were killed by lions in the area of Spaarwater in the Kunene Region at the start of the week.

 

Conservancies all over Namibia have fallen on hard times as a result of the international travel ban that was implemented around the globe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Torra conservancy will have to rely on its self reliance scheme money that it receives from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) and donor money to compensate the farmer who lost the goats and a dog during the lion attack.

 

The farmer shot one of the two lions that attacked his goats in the area that he had recently moved them to for grazing.

 

He also shot a leopard that caught one of his dogs, as well as a hyena that was eating one of the goats that the lions had killed.

 

The spokesperson of the MEFT, Romeo Muyunda, confirmed the incident of human wildlife conflict and said the farmer moved to the area south of Palmwag earlier in the year to graze his livestock after the rainy season.

 

 

Muyunda said that the MEFT was informed that 33 goats were killed during the lion attack while being kept in a temporary kraal.

 

The kraal was in the process of being upgraded and reinforced to keep lions out.

 

He also pointed out that the lioness, the leopard and the hyena that were killed by the farmer in retaliation for his livestock losses are all protected species.

 

“Despite killing protected species, the farmer reported the incident and will not face charges because he acted within the law,” Muyunda said.

 

Izak Smit, who heads the Desert Lions Human Relations Aid (DeLHRA) that assists farmers in areas where lions and other predators roam freely to safeguard their livestock against attacks, indicated that the kraal collapsed because the reinforcement had not been completed.

 

“None of the lions that attacked and killed the goats were collared, which makes tracking the predators very difficult. We maintain that as long as key lions in hotspot areas are not fitted with satellite collars and the farmers and other stakeholders refused the positions by the Ministry of Environment Forestry and Tourism, even though the National Human Wildlife Conflict Policy clearly undertakes it, these attacks will prevail and farmers’ livelihoods will be threatened further,” Smit said.

 

With regard to assisting farmers to safeguard their livestock, Smit said that DeLHRA only provides shade cloth and other material along with training to conservancies and are not directly responsible for erecting lion proof kraals.

 

He said the farmer involved in the latest incident has always cooperated well with Lion conservation and DeLHRA but lions without radio collars remain a challenge.

 

Muyunda said that the persistent lack of rain has put subsistence farmers in bad situation where they have to continuously move with their livestock to graze their animals.

 

This means that farmers move into areas where wildlife still roams free, which leads to incidents of human wildlife conflict.

 

“The fact that the desert adapted lions cannot be continuously tracked and as long as communal farmers use conservancy land to graze their animals the conflict between wildlife and humans will always be unavoidable,” he said.

 

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