WINDHOEK - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has spent over N$4 million on compensation for incidents of human-wildlife conflict resulting in loss of lives, crops and livestock for the period 2016/17 to 2017/2018.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Romeo Muyunda, said the new policy states that N$100,000 is paid out as compensation for every human life lost, while the state will compensate between N$10,000 and N$30,000 for injuries, depending on the severity of the injury caused by wild animals to humans.
Muyunda said that victims of human-wildlife conflict who became disabled will be paid a one-off N$50,000 in compensation to mitigate the disablement.
During the period of 2017 until this year August, only two human beings lost their lives when a hippopotamus attacked and killed them on the spot at Muyako village near Katima Mulilo in Zambezi Region. The hippopotamus was put down.
Muyunda provided New Era with statistics of about 295 livestock that were lost between last year up to the end of August this year countrywide.
“The most affected regions in terms of loss of livestock are the ones surrounding Etosha Park, north-east regions and Kunene, followed closely by Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions,” explained Muyunda.
He further pointed out that lions, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs are the main culprits, with leopards also causing significant stock losses.
“It has to be stressed that losses are generally under-reported, especially for freehold land, and the figures thus represent the absolute minimum,” he said.
Furthermore, additionally to killing livestock, predators also cause injury to livestock, which then often have to be put down afterwards.
Rare cases of pythons causing livestock losses have also been reported in the north-central regions.
A total of 36 predators were reported to have been destroyed across the country; however this is also generally under-reported, and mostly excludes freehold land.
He said for the loss of large livestock such as cattle, N$3,000 will be paid out, while N$500 will be paid for a goat, N$700 for a sheep, N$800 for a horse, and N$500 for a donkey while restitution for a pig will be N$700.
More than 700 hectares of various crop fields were destroyed, mainly by elephants in Kavango West.
According to Muyunda, elephant-human conflict around Etosha, in the north-central and north-west regions remains a serious concern, with the animals responsible for endless damage to fences and other infrastructure such as water pipes and installations and even housing.
Crop damages have been compensated at N$250 for one quarter of a hectare, and N$1,000 for one hectare.
Muyunda said the ministry has handed a water tank to Omauni area in Ohangwena as one of the affected areas.
He further noted that necessary action is taken as needed, such as deterring lions by using fireworks or translocating the predators.
“Frequent patrols are conducted in the areas that were identified as hot spots of lion activity, such as in Anabeb, Sesfontein, Purros, Omatendeka and EhiRovipuka conservancies. The ministry has assisted with guarding of crop fields in Kavango East. Scarecrows were erected in crop fields and thorn bush kraals in the river bays were erected to prevent crocodile attacks in the Zambezi,” he stated.