Windhoek — With the escalating incidences of poaching reported in Namibia, an amount of N$178.6 million has been allocated for wildlife and protected area management aimed to establish and implement measures and strategies for the protection and conservation of flora and fauna.
In 2017, 32 rhinos were poached compared to 61 during 2016, while 22 elephants were killed in 2017 compared to 101 in 2016.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta revealed these figures last week in the National Assembly during his motivation for the ministry's budget allocation for 2018/19.
The ministry has been allocated an amount of N$402 million for this financial year, of which N$337.8 million goes for the operational budget while N$64.2 million is set aside for the development budget.
Although there is decline in poaching of rhinos and elephants, Shifeta said, the government will continue to fund efforts aimed to reduce poaching levels to insignificant levels to protect the country's national heritage.
Legislation that deals with wildlife protection and law enforcement matters, the Nature Conservation Ordinance, 1975 (Ordinance 4 of 1975), was also amended to increase fines and penalties for poaching of rhinos and elephants and other related offences, which will enhance their deterrent effect.
Equally, the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act, 2008 (Act 8 of 2008) was amended to increase penalties for those found in possession of wildlife products, more particularly rhino horns and elephant tusks.
Shifeta said their emphasis among others will be to create long-term sustainability, good governance and proper management of community-based natural resources management programmes for the benefit of all people.
"Wildlife shall be managed in a way that recognises the rights and development needs of people while recognising the need for biodiversity conservation, leading to reduction in human-wildlife conflict incidents," Shifeta noted.
Another programme to which funds are allocated is the protection of key species and natural habitat for which N$26.3 million is set aside. This programme aims to improve the efficiency in protecting and managing key species and natural resources, and sustainable utilisation of wildlife resources and other scientific services aimed at improving the natural resource base for economic development.
The ministry also allocated N$21.9 million for tourism development and gaming regulations and N$22.7 million for environment and natural resources protection, which deals with environmental affairs such as environmental assessments, waste management, pollution control and environmental inspections, biodiversity and sustainable land management initiatives.
An amount of N$74.4 million is allocated for new infrastructure that is critical for protected area networks especially in terms of mitigation of human-wildlife conflict such as fences and water points.
Read the original article on New Era.
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