Nkurenkuru — Human-wildlife conflict remains a serious problem in Kavango West, where elephants continue to cause destruction. The marauding jumbos recently made their presence felt yet again; this time around, they ransacked a homestead at Maha village of Tondoro Constituency last weekend, causing extensive damage. It was the fourth time since 2017 that the elephants damaged the homestead belonging to Reino Katewa and his family. The elephants struck down three traditional huts, including a makeshift storage room.
"They [elephants] started in 2017 when we had one incident; in 2018, we had two incidents - and this year, it was their first time at our homestead. They come and cause damage to huts and food," said Katewa. Katewa now fears for his life and that of his family, saying they may be killed by the dangerous jumbos as they have made his home their target.
"I don't know where this is going to end because I cannot move out of my home and leave it for the elephants because they have not stopped targeting it. Since 2017, my life has been in danger because of the elephants," he fumed. He says it is difficult for him to move anywhere else, as he cannot abandon his crop fields. A makeshift structure used for church services by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin), in the same village, was also completely brought down by the animals. According to Katewa, the ministry of environment has not assisted him in any way for the past three years. In a similar incident at Yinsu village, the same animals damaged water pipes and brought down a water tank. The ministry's deputy director for the north-east regions, Apollinaris Kanyinga, said it is unfortunate that people expect compensation for all damages, which, however, in case of loss of harvested food and infrastructure damages, the current national policy on human-wildlife conflict management does not make provision for. He said the fight to minimise or prevent human-wildlife conflict is not a sole responsibility of the environment ministry, but it requires the commitment of all stakeholders.