UNDP commends Namibia’s wildlife protection

OMATJETE- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Izumi Morota-Alakija has commended Namibia for having shown its commitment to protecting wildlife, especially given the country's extraordinary diversity of species and high level of endemism.

Morota-Alakija who was speaking during the commemoration of the Wildlife Day on Sunday in Omatjete village of the Erongo Region said human wildlife conflict is one of the challenging issues that remain persistent in Namibia.

The conflict between wild animals and humans ranges from the destruction of crops and water installations to loss of livestock, homes and in some cases, even unfortunate loss of human lives.

Namibia is home to many different types of wild animals such as the big five namely; rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard among others.

Namibia is also home to 4,350 species and subspecies of vascular plants, of which 17 percent are endemic.

In Namibia, the wildlife populations and their home locations have expanded deep into communal farming areas, which is resulting in more frequent conflicts between people and wild animals, particularly elephants.

Morota-Alakija therefore says it is necessary that mechanisms are created for rural communities and farmers to manage and benefit from wildlife and other natural resources.

There are a lot of human settlements in the Erongo Region which attract the desert elephant population. When the territories of people and wildlife intersect, human wildlife conflict is unavoidable, she reacted.

Hence, she suggests it is necessary that intervention and implementation of mitigation measures happen, in effort to manage the conflict to protect ecosystem services, ultimately benefiting the 'planet and people'.

One of the issues she pointed out that causes the conflict is the sharing of water points for both animals and humans, saying this can be mitigated by providing boreholes that can supply water to multiple water points, in turn leading wildlife away from human settlements.

In this regard, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has come to the rescue of affected communities in the Daures Constituency who live in constant fear due to the increased population of these problematic jumbos by building water dams for these roaming elephants.

She assured the nation the commitment by UNDP to work with the Namibian government and partners to find solutions in support of combating human wildlife conflict in the country.

The World Wildlife Day is observed each year on March 3 to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild animals and plants on our planet, as well as an occasion to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to both wildlife and people and the predicament of many threatened or endangered species.

For this year, World Wildlife Day focuses on the theme, Life Below Water, to spotlight the importance of protecting aquatic and marine biodiversity.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia