WINDHOEK, 31 MAY – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has allocated N.dollars 23.8 million for the construction of an elephant and predator-proof fence for the Etosha National Park this year.
The ministry issued a statement Thursday in response to a video clip of the park’s fence circulating on social media.
It said the ministry has been working on improving the fence, which is 822 kilometres long, since 2012.
“N.dollars 161.5 million was spent on fencing maintenance between the periods of 2012 to 2017,” the statement said.
Over the past six years, only 112 kilometres of the fence have been upgraded and 712 kilometres are still to be fixed.
The ministry has estimated through a feasibility study that this will cost N.dollars 491 million.
“The most affected area is the northern boundary cattle-proof fence. This area has been mostly impossible to reach from the park during the wet season and is being destroyed by elephants leaving the park on a daily basis,” it said.
The statement said maintaining the fence in this area is limited by budget constraints.
Another challenge is the limited staff members stationed at Onanke.
It is not possible to bring in more staff to maintain the fence as the other available staff are tasked to attend to issues of wildlife protection and law enforcement given the current levels of poaching of rhinos and elephants.”
The ministry however urged farmers and community members around the park to remain calm as they are making arrangements to maintain the boundary fence and allocate staff members to the area.