OKONGO, 29 APR – The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta on Saturday handed over equipment to mitigate human-wildlife conflict at Omauni in the Okongo Constituency of the Ohangwena Region.
The equipment, which includes 50 grain storage containers and 100 water tanks, will be shared among communities in the Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati and Oshikoto regions.
Speaking during the handover ceremony here, Shifeta said the water tanks will be used by communities at their water points to avoid competition for the same water resources with wild animals.
He added that the grain storage containers will be used by farmers to store their mahangu as in some areas, elephants destroyed people’s traditional huts after being attracted by the smell of grain stored in there.
“Those in elephant prone areas can now store their grains in the well-enclosed container to prevent damage to homesteads,” said Shifeta.
He noted that the gesture may not be the core mandate of the ministry, but it has taken the initiative in order to reduce and manage the human-wildlife conflict.
“The equipment is not meant to replace or compensate for those who had damages to their equipment by elephants, but it is to be used by those affected by the conflict [and] to prevent them from occurring.”
He noted that the conflicts happen because of competition between growing human populations and wildlife for the same living space and resources as well as the movement of people for reasons such as safety or food security.
Shifeta explained that the situation has caused the killing of many wild animals in retaliation of the human-wildlife conflict, however, the process might eliminate the species and affect the ecosystem as well as home ranges.