14 November 2017

Namibia: Kunene Livestock-Killing Lions to Be Translocated

The pride of lions that slaughtered 86 small livestock in Kunene last week are to be translocated, the environment ministry says.

The ministry issued a statement yesterday in response to the attack in the region's Torra Conservancy, where communal farmer Samuel Gawiseb's livestock were nearly wiped out, except for 13 kids. His loss was estimated at about N$150 000, but the compensation based on the current human-wildlife conflict policy is only about N$20 000.

The statement from the ministry indicated that between 10 and 15 lions will be captured and translocated to areas where they will not cause any conflict. Arrangements are already underway by the directorate of wildlife and national parks to move the beasts.

"If there are challenges in capturing specific individual animals in the pride, then such individuals will be destroyed. But our priority is to translocate these animals," the statement read.

Neighbouring farmers told this newspaper that the lions had entered the kraal and killed most of the goats and sheep, as well as the herder's dog. Photos show that only the intestines of the animals were eaten, while the rest of the carcasses were left.

Preliminary findings of an investigation launched by the ministry soon after the incident suggest that with the current first rains received in the region, the movements of animals in the area have been "stretched", making it difficult for predators to find their natural prey.

The findings also highlighted that the kraal in which the livestock were kept "was not strong, and not built in accordance with the predator-proof requirement".

"While the ministry has a role to support local communities and farmers to develop and implement appropriate human-wildlife conflict management and mitigation plans, it is the responsibility of [all stakeholders] to take measures to avoid such conflicts.

"Every person has a general duty to take reasonable measures to prevent or minimise damage caused or to be caused by wild animals," the statement read.

The ministry added that the review of the national policy on human-wildlife conflict management is being finalised, which policy could see an increase in compensation for losses during such conflicts.

Communities and farmers are complaining that the current policy gave inadequate compensation, considering that livestock farming was their livelihood.

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