The Game Products Trust Fund (GPTF) board has approved N$2.4 million for the establishment of permanent patrol camps for wildlife law enforcement and crime prevention by the Special Field Force. The unit is said to experience difficulties with accommodation while working to protect the country’s fauna against poachers.
The board says the money will enable the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to construct 16 permanent patrol camps throughout the country for law enforcement officials engaged in wildlife crime prevention.
Early this month, GPTF board members were re-appointed based on their outstanding performance, as they largely implemented projects that have had a positive impact on conservation, wildlife management and rural development in various areas. Of the N$64.9 million approved for funding of projects for the period 2012- 2015, the board managed to disburse N$50.4 million to applicants who have greatly benefited in terms of livelihood improvement, as they depend directly on the environment for survival.
According to Nampa, the Namibian Police Force (Nampol) Anti-Poaching Unit has since June this year arrested 48 people for rhino poaching.
About 22 of those arrested appeared in the Okahao Magistrate’s Court in Omusati Region in July, while an unspecified small number of suspects were released, pending further police investigations into their cases.
The GPTF report for June says patrol camps have already been completed at Mukwanyati and Gwesha in the Bwabwata National Park, where poaching is rife.
The rest of the patrol camps are still under construction with some nearing completion, especially the ones at Palmwag and Mbakondja in the Kunene Region.
Further, the report says, camps are still to be built in Etosha National Park; Omatendeka and Sesfontein in Kunene; and Lupala Island in Nkasa Rupara National Park in the Zambezi Region.
GPTF also purchased vehicles worth N$3.53 million for wildlife law enforcement and crime prevention by the Special Field Force and the Protected Resource Unit of NamPol.
The board further ensured the construction of facilities as part of the project to mitigate human-wildlife conflict (HWC) in the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), through chilli production measures.
The facilities include a 50×50 metre garden for growing chilli, a 1 000-litre water tank for storing water, a petrol generator for pumping water and a harvesting and processing room.
The project was implemented at Josef Mbambangandu Conservancy in Kavango East Region, while in Zambezi there are similar projects at Dzoti, Kwandu and Salambala conservancies, and at Nyae Nyae Conservancy in Otjozondjupa Region.
Meanwhile, work was also undertaken to install water points for the Marienfluss Conservancy as a measure to mitigate HWC.
The report says the number of crocodiles in the Kunene River has increased and this has resulted in an increase in reported cases of attacks on livestock and wildlife.
There is also an increasing fear of crocodiles attacking humans, who use the river on a daily basis. Hence, GPTF ensured the installation of a solar-powered water pump to allow people to draw water from the river at a distance of 1 000 metres, for facilities such as troughs for livestock and showers for people.