New Era (Namibia)

Human-wildlife conflict in spotlight …as elephants wreak havoc in Zambezi


WINDHOEK – With the severe drought the Zambezi region is experiencing a lot of human-wildlife conflict as elephants roam around further afield for food and water, causing havoc in villages.

The rise in elephant migration can also be attributed to an existing transboundary conservation area that straddles the borders between Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola.

Given that many of the elephants inside Namibia also come from these neighbouring countries, wildlife corridors in the border areas could be seen to ease the population pressure inside the respective countries.
Zambezi regional governor Lawrence Sampofu yesterday confirmed that elephants are on an increase and are migrating throughout the Zambezi.

“Human-wildlife conflict is very high. Many elephants are moving around in the region, causing havoc. So far we lost two lives. One person was killed by an elephant in Linyanti area, while the other was killed in the area of Judea Lyamboloma,” Sampofu said. 

According to him, the jumbos are heavily migrating in search of water points.
The governor appealed to the communities in Zambezi to be vigilant of these dangerous animals, especially people who move around at night.

Asked what the government is doing to deal with the elephants, Sampofu said officials cannot do much.
“The Ministry of Environment and Tourism can’t do anything. The elephants are moving. They are migrating,” he noted. 

Recently, the ministry of environment came to the rescue of Daures constituency residents who are living in constant fear of the increased numbers of problematic elephants looking for food and water.
In Erongo region many human settlements attract the desert elephants and when the territories of people and wildlife intersect, human-wildlife conflict is unavoidable. 

One of the sources of conflict is the sharing of water points between animals and humans. 
The ministry thus found it necessary that intervention and implementation of mitigation measures be put in place. 

This is an effort to manage the conflict to protect ecosystem services, ultimately benefiting both humans and wild animals.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta during the recent commemoration of Wildlife Day officially handed over water infrastructure to the communities under the continuous support of the ministry for water infrastructure to affected communities. 

He said the ministry dedicated the day to giving recognition to human-wildlife conflict management interventions designed to promote wildlife conservation, and contribute to improved community livelihoods and poverty eradication