WINDHOEK, 27 JUN – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has defended its position to kill a lion that was part of the pride that killed 27 goats, sheep and two donkeys in the Kunene Region in June.
The six-and-half-year old male lion was killed at De Rust farm by the ministry’s conservation officials on 16 June this year.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the ministry’s spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda said the ministry rejects reports by the international community that it is lobbying against sustainable use of wildlife.
The statement said these reports are keen on spreading unfounded rumours aimed at tarnishing the image of Namibia with reference to its wildlife management and utilisation, despite attempts and efforts to clarify the ministry’s conservation methods.
“Namibia has subscribed to conservation methods that are tailormade to address human wildlife conflict and benefit our people,” said the statement.
It added that the methods have been tried and tested with tangible results visible in terms of wildlife population growth.
“The methods have tripled the wildlife numbers and cases of human wildlife conflict increased with animals like lions being the main culprits,” said the ministry.
It further noted that Namibia’s human wildlife conflict management was developed in such a way that it addresses the needs to conserve wildlife while recognising and respecting the rights of the people as well as tourism development.
“For as much as we value tourism as an economic sector based on the revenue it generates, as a responsible government we will always put the needs of our people first without compromise or fail,” it said.
The statement further noted that Namibia has the largest free ranging population of wildlife in the world such as black rhinos, cheetahs, elephants of about 22 000 and an estimated 700 lion population.
“The ministry regards human wildlife conflict as a serious problem that if not addressed appropriately it has potential to harm and destroy conservation efforts and tourism benefit for the country, therefore measures are needed which recognises the need to promote biodiversity conservation.”
The ministry said addressing human wildlife conflict requires striking a balance between conservation priorities and the needs of people who live with wildlife, as most Namibians depend on the land for their subsistence.