Lions terrorise Otjindakui community

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Human-wildlife conflict… An adult male lion displays its mighty teeth. Residents of Otjindakui settlement in Kunene Region say they are uneasy about the presence of a pride of lion in their area.

Khorixas

Residents of Otjindakui community have called on Sesfontien Constituency Councillor Julius Kaujova to urgently intervene, as they have for many years faced problems with marauding wildlife, especially lions.

In a letter, dated July 1, the community says on June 15 a lion came close to their village and that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) was notified, whereafter the ministry dispatched a team of rangers to the scene, who confirmed seeing lion spoor.
On June 26, a bull was killed by a pride of lion. Farmers then followed the pride and killed a lioness in the process.

“The normal routine in similar cases is that one has to report the killing of the wild animal to the MET within 24 hours, which we did. On 27th June 2017, we learned that MET officials have opened a case of killing a protected species with the Namibian police against us,” states the letter signed by Tjipombo Ricky, a senior traditional councillor at Otjindakui settlement.

According to Tjipombo, police officers confiscated two firearms from the farmers for further investigations into the illegal hunting of the lion. “Honourable Councillor [Julius Kaujova] the confiscated firearms are the ones used to protect the livestock from lions and since the farmers are without firearms who will protect their livestock?” asked the inhabitants of Otjindakui.

The community further says they learned with dismay that a pride of lions recently moved into the settlement and were spotted drinking water at the water-point meant for their livestock.

“Therefore, we call upon the honourable councillor to intervene and find a lasting solution to this ongoing conflict and in this vein we are appealing for MET conservancy to take care of our livestock, while relevant authorities are dwelling on much-needed solutions to this problem,” stated the community.

The Otjindakui community further says the law in the Conservancy Zoning Act stipulates clearly: “No livestock in the concession area and no wildlife in the settlement area.”

The letter was forwarded to the MET, the police at Sesfontien, Sesfontien Conservancy and a number of non-governmental organisations.

Sesfontien Constituency Councillor Kaujova said he would meet with the Otjindakui community over the killing of a collared lion.
“The lioness killed a bull and the community reported the problem to MET officials, but apparently nothing happened. The police investigations are ongoing and two firearms were confiscated,” Kaujova told New Era yesterday. He said the community wants the police and MET officials to protect their livestock from marauding lions, as they no longer have firearms to protect themselves and their cattle.

A meeting is scheduled to take place between the police and Kaujova to discuss the issue.

Deputy Commissioner Rudolf Kanyetu, who is based in Kunene Region, confirmed that a 3.8 rifle was confiscated from the Otjindakui residents as part of further investigations into the killing of a lioness. “Yes, the weapon is with the police since it was used in the crime.

I am in Rundu now and cannot reveal much on the matter,” Kanyetu said.

Kunene Region has one of the highest number of conservancies in the country and human-wildlife conflict is reportedly on the rise in the area.

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