The Namibian (Windhoek)

17 September 2008

Namibia: Rare Animals Extend Their Range

THE Ehirovipuka Conservancy in the Kunene Region last week received giraffes and Hartmann's zebras caught in the Etosha National Park.

Minister of Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and EU Ambassador Elizabeth Pape were among the guests who witnessed the capture and release of the first eight giraffes and 27 zebras in the Ehirovipuka Conservancy.

Another five giraffes and 23 zebras will be moved to the conservancy from the Etosha National Park in the coming days.

The translocation of wild animals to communal conservancies is a project of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, supported by Namibia's Rural Poverty Reduction Programme and funded by the European Union (EU).

Under the project, 2 500 wild animals will be introduced in 23 communal conservancies in the Kunene, Erongo, Hardap, Karas, Omusati and Otjozondjupa regions.

A variety of animals have been caught on private farms throughout Namibia, including 275 eland, 535 gemsbok, 280 red hartebeest, 275 kudu and 880 springbok.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism donated 50 giraffes and 300 Hartmann's zebras from the Etosha National Park.

Over the past three years the Ministry has developed and refined translocation approaches and methods.

Building on this, the Rural Poverty Reduction Programme is making a huge impact on the living standards of rural communities.

This project falls under the Wildlife for Rural Poverty Reduction Programme, which aims to reintroduce valuable species in areas where they formerly roamed and to boost the natural migration of species.

It will also increase biodiversity in communal lands and enable conservancies to earn an income from tourism and trophy hunting.

Communities can develop tourism facilities on land allocated to them and utilise the wildlife in different ways to provide direct benefits to the local residents.

In addition to the translocation of common species, a number of rare animals have also been reintroduced in their former habitat.

Only conservancies with a minimal threat of poaching, availability of suitable habitat and access to water were chosen for the programme.

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