New Era (Namibia)
KAMANJAB – The country’s rhino and elephant populations have more than doubled and it’s all thanks to a well-managed natural resource management programme, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has revealed. Sikopo said, “Our elephant population has more than doubled from 7500 in 1995 to about 24000 today.”
Speaking at a national youth week in the Kunene Region, Director of Parks and Wildlife in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Colgar Sikopo commended government for implementing animal conservation.
This comes at a time when high cases of poaching in 2015 to 2016 prompting government to implement measures to reduce poaching. “Today, Namibia has a great African wildlife success story to tell. Namibia has a healthy population of black and white rhinos, including the largest free roaming black rhino population outside parks in the world,” he said.
He added that the increasing number of animal species is an indication of government’s policy to improve wildlife protection and also create better co-existence between the human population and the animals in protected areas. He said that other species that increased in numbers, both in the national parks and outside the national parks in the past include giraffe and lions. According to Sikopo, Namibia to date has the largest cheetah population in the world while the population of free roaming lions outside the national parks has significantly gone up. The Ministry of Environment also revealed the country has also earned about N$35 million from earnings in the national parks. The money was generated from payments made by both local and international tourists who visited the national parks.
This year, the National Youth Council organised the Youth Week under the theme ‘Finding ways of including young people in combating poaching and promoting animal conservation.’
Executive Chairperson of the National Youth Council Mandela Kapere also mentioned the importance of taping into youth’s potential in driving animal conservation. However, Kapere complained there is the unavailability of financial resources to drive better youth programmes in animal conservation.
“This year, we received N$500 000 for the event and the youth officials are willing to implement projects from the ground, but because of low funds, they are unable to do implementations,” Kapere said.