THE Ministry of Environment has urged those wanting to harvest mopane worms in conservancies to seek permission from the conservancy, traditional authorities or other relevant authorities.
This comes after the Ministry of Environment experienced an influx of community members entering the Etosha National Park to harvest mopane worms.
Ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said the Ministry is concerned by the violation of park rules, regulations and the law by members of the public who entered the park for harvesting and collecting mopane worms.
“We want to encourage communities migrating to harvest Mopane worms in conservancies to seek permission from the conservancy, the traditional authority or any other relevant authority,” he said.
Muyunda stated that entering a protected area, game park or game reserve without a permit from the Ministry is prohibited by law under Section 18 of the Nature Conservation Ordinance, 1975 (Ord. 4 of 1975).
He added that the law further restricts the removal from a game park or nature reserves any animal, whether dead or alive or any part of the animal.
This applies to both flora and fauna.
“The influx of people to the park does not only violate the park rules and the law but also places the lives of those community members at risk,” he noted.
Muyunda explained that the national parks have predators with the potential to take the lives of such people entering and wandering in the park.
The Etosha National Park in particular contains specially protected species such as rhinos and elephants, and in recent years, the park has been inundated by incidences of poaching.
For this reason, the security of the park is on high alert, and therefore the law enforcement agencies or the security operatives can easily treat illegal mopane worms harvesters as suspects for attempted poaching of rhinos and elephants.
Muyunda warned members of the public to refrain from entering the park illegally as this may consequently lead to them being arrested and charged under relevant laws as stipulated earlier.