The Namibian

RUNDU – Elephants continue wreaking havoc at a farm in Mashare constituency of Kavango East region where they have destroyed infrastructure, but the environment ministry has not intervened in the latest case of human-wildlife conflict.

Farm owner, Augustinus Poroto told Nampa the problem of elephants ravaging his farm goes back to 2015.

“Our boundary fence has been destroyed and most of our cattle have strayed outside. We have not rounded up many of the cattle up to now,” a frustrated Poroto said.

He said his farm has three posts and each has four or five camps. These have all been destroyed by the elephants.

“We do not know what to do. We approached the Ministry of Environment and Tourism at Rundu several times, but no action has been taken to help us,” he said.

The three boreholes at the farm have also been damaged by the elephants.

Poroto said he has spent more than N$800 000 fixing the fence every time it is destroyed, paying workers and repairing many other infrastructure on the farm.

“My wife and I spent our entire pension on that farm, but most of the infrastructure has been damaged. Where will we get this money now for us to survive?” he asked, adding that his two children are unemployed graduates and the farm is their means of survival.

Deputy director in the ministry of environment, Apollinaris Kanyinga, told Nampa on Sunday the farm in question is located in an elephant habitat, and this means the elephants will always damage the fences.

“There is no policy provision to compensate farmers for infrastructure that has been destroyed,” he said.

Kayinga said the ministry has started discussions to see how best farmers can co-exist with wildlife and to see if the farmers can get utilisation rights over wildlife.

The ministry’s public relations officer, Romeo Muyunda, in a separate interview with Nampa, said there are a lot of farms in that area that are affected by the same problem and that if the elephants are chased from one farm, they will go to the next one.

“There are not enough corridors for these elephants to pass through,” he said.

Muyunda advised all affected farmers to convene a meeting and look at how they can benefit from the wildlife by proposing to the ministry to consider giving them quotas to hunt some of the elephants.

This way, the farmers can generate some funds that can assist them to reduce the costs they incur, he said. – Nampa