Ecosystem preservation awareness needed in Omaheke

GOBABIS: Extensive awareness on the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem by avoiding cutting down trees and preserving the country’s endangered species is lacking in the Omaheke Region.

Peter-Hain Kazapua, a tourism entrepreneur and conservation enthusiast, told Nampa in an interview on Wednesday that more needs to be done to raise awareness on the importance of maintaining a healthy balance in the ecosystem, as many inhabitants of this region still lag behind in nature conservation awareness.

Kazapua said the age-old hunting and gathering lifestyle of many inhabitants of the Omaheke Region, which was mostly nomadic in nature, had made it normal to hunt down animals for the pot, while the cutting down of trees for household use has also become an accepted norm.

The tourism entrepreneur, who owns and manages a tour company at Gobabis, said many of the animals and tree species being brought down are often endangered and, therefore, protected species.

“It has become increasingly difficult to make people understand that they are not allowed to hunt down certain animals or chop down certain trees, as people have been doing this practise for ages. For instance, camel thorn tree trunks have become popular in household fencing due to its strength. What many do not know is that certain species of this somewhat popular tree in our region are protected,” he said.

Despite not hosting a large variety of wild animals, the Omaheke Region is home to a large variety of bird species, while many reptiles are also indigenous to Omaheke.

Kazapua thus called for a concerted effort amongst various stakeholders in the tourism and nature conservation fields to educate the inhabitants of this region on nature conservation.

“We need to inform people correctly on what are the acceptable practices and what practices are harmful to our ecosystem. We need to speak with one voice in order to be heard by the communities,” he said.