Jumbos counted to manage conflict

Namibia’s Environment ministry is conducting an elephant census in the north west of the country covering the Kamanjab area, the Kunene and elephant range areas in Erongo and Omusati regions to further understand elephant distribution and density.
Chief public relations officer, Romeo Muyunda last week said, the census which is underway started a fortnight ago and is expected to end in the second week of October.
Muyunda confirmed that the results from the elephant census are set to guide the the ministry’s approach to human elephant conflict management.
The move by the ministry comes in the light of claims that the ministry is not attending to cases of human wildlife conflict which is a problem which occurs throughout Namibia on communal as well as freehold land. Environment minister, Hon Pohamba Shifeta last week refuted the claims that his ministry has not been attending to the cases of wildlife conflict.
“We continue to invest resources and time to mitigate the impacts of human wildlife conflicts,” he stated.
According to Shifeta, environment officials across the country in particular the Kunene region where the majority of these concerns emanate from, are working closely with farmers and communities to bring the situation under control. He said four elephants have been collared to monitor their movements. “The collar data will be shared with the Kamanjab Farmer’s Association on a daily basis which they use to inform their members on the movements of elephants in the area to mitigate further losses,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shifeta also noted that a relatively high frequency of conflicts involving lion predation on livestock occurs in specific parts of the Kunene region, particularly were people have moved into wildlife areas.
Due to the ongoing conflict, the ministry recognized the need for a new approach to address human wildlife conflict. It has initiated the process of reviewing the National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management.