Met Needs More Funds to Fence Off Etosha

THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism needs more than N$40 million per year to construct proper boundary fences to protect animals in the Etosha National Park.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta told members of parliament during the debate on the budget of his ministry in the National Assembly a week ago that fighting poaching in the park will be futile if the elephant and predator-proof fence around the park is not completed.

He said the ministry has been erceting this particular fence since 2011.

According to Shifeta, only 97 kilometres of the northern boundary has been fenced. However, increasing damage and vandalism to the southern and western fences has been observed in recent years due to activities of elephants and communities, such that it is now in a dilapidated state and in need of urgent attention.

“Our efforts to fight poaching in Etosha will be futile unless we upgrade this fence as criminals now have unhindered access in and out of Etosha,” he stated.

A total of 31 rhino carcasses – some with horns, others without – were discovered in the western part of the park between 1 and 18 April 2015 by the ministry’s game rangers.

Shifeta told the NA that the N$40 million allocated for this programme annually is not sufficient as it translates into only 20 km of fence erected per year.

This means it will take the ministry more than 10 years to complete the entire 824 km fence, according to Shifeta.

MET requested about N$167 million for the further erection of the game-proof fence in Etosha during this financial year. In the face of increased poaching of elephant and rhino, Shifeta highlighted that consideration of increased resources to this project is needed.

“I therefore call for the allocation of adequate resources to this critical and pressing matter. I will be making a Cabinet submission in this regard in the coming weeks,” he added.

MET was allocated about N$643 million in the 20152016 national budget.

– Nampa

Source : The Namibian