Rundu — Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, says government will not pay N$100,000 compensation for people killed by crocodiles and hippos while swimming or bathing in rivers. This is because such deaths could be avoided.
Shiefeta made the remarks during the official launch of Maurus Nekaro Conservancy in Kavango West on Saturday. Maurus Nekaro Conservancy was officially declared as a conservancy on August 1 last year.
"I would like to urge parents and, traditional and community leaders living along the rivers and floodplains to warn children swimming or bathing in the rivers that it is dangerous to do so, as they put their lives at risk of being caught and killed by the crocodiles and hippos," he said.
Shifeta advised that people should collect water from the river and immediately move to the banks where they can conduct their usual activities such as bathing, washing clothes, or do so at their homesteads and not directly in the river and those fishing should also be very careful, vigilant and conduct their fishing in the safest manner.
"Formation of conservancies is one of such mechanisms, and we are today moving in the right direction. I want to specifically caution all communities living along the rivers and floodplains, and the general public, not to take risks that may result in loss of human lives," Shifeta noted.
Maurus Nekaro Conservancy is located in a wildlife corridor, particularly that of elephants. The conservancy has diverse wildlife resources. These resources will contribute to sustainable utilisation thereof, which will enhance rural development and eradicate poverty among many people through the conservancy.
Based on available scientific data from game counts, existing policies and legislation, number of human-wildlife conflict incidents and indigenous knowledge, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism already allocated an annual trophy hunting quota for Maurus Conservancy for sustainable use of their wildlife resources and income generation. The trophy hunting quota includes two elephants, two crocodile and one hippo per year.
"Statistics available at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism show that rural communities who have been given rights, training and skills to manage their own natural resources and institutions in this country have earned millions of Namibian Dollars in benefits from Community Based Natural Resource Management programme and Maurus Nekaro Conservancy should be of no exception," he added.
Namibia has adopted a number of innovative approaches to achieve biodiversity conservation within the framework of national development plans and poverty reduction strategies.