THERE is a need to promote tolerance towards wild animals as the issue of human-wildlife conflict will never go away for as long as human beings and wildlife continue to co-exist in this earth.
This was spelled out by Romeo Muyunda, Ministry of Environment and Tourism spokesperson, while addressing the issue of the elephant presence in the Omusati Region.
The large mammals have already destroyed at least one borehole and damaged a homestead in the Omakange and Otjorute areas, respectively.
Muyunda pointed out that some of the elephants had already been in the Omusati Region for years, but that the elephant population in the area recently grew as new elephants migrated from the Etosha National Park.
On the issues of the elephants causing havoc, Muyunda indicated that the issues being reported at the Omakange-Otjorute area are not new.
“Incidents involving elephants are common in that area. It is therefore not possible to single out one specific incident,” he said.
Muyunda noted that while the ministry does not pay compensation, it provides financial assistance to those affected.
He explained that this is done to help those who have lost their property or livestock due to wildlife.
Muyunda added that the ministry’s policy provides for self-reliance and also provides for duty of care, which means stakeholders including farmers, community members and traditional authorities must also put measures in place to mitigate human-wildlife conflict.
“It should not be an issue of government alone,” he said.
Namibia is home to about 24 000 elephants, the majority roaming freely and leading to the occasional human-wildlife conflict.
Omusati governor, Erginus Endjala, said there is an influx of elephants moving in large groups in search of water and grazing in the region.
Endjala concluded by stating that his office is working together with traditional authorities, councillors and community members to mitigate the issue of human-wildlife conflict.