The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has managed to clear a backlog of 62 concession applications dating back as far as 2008.
Eight concession contracts were signed between the ministry and communal conservancies.
Some of the conservancies that signed contracts with the ministry include Puros and Sesfontein, Sanitatas, Puros, Orupembe and Etanga, King Nehale, Sheya Shuushona, Wuparo, Kwando, Mashi and Mayuni.
This information is contained in the 2013/14 annual progress report in which MET revealed that five trophy hunting concessions on State land (outside communal conservancies) were sold on auction.
The backlog of concession applications was a challenge in the past before the Concession Unit was relocated from the office of the permanent secretary to the scientific services directorate during 2013/14.
By awarding these concessions, the report says, the ministry contributed to employment creation during the development of infrastructure for those concessions, including lodge employment, rural development and consequently the growth of local economies.
In line with Cabinet approval and treasury authorisation, three black rhinos were sold for trophy purposes as well.
As part of wildlife monitoring, road counts of game were conducted in communal conservancies in the north-west, central and southern parts of the country.
The report indicates that all species-surveys were also conducted in national parks, namely in Bwabwata,Nkasa Lupara and Waterberg Plateau.
MET also implemented new regulations on keeping of large carnivores in captivity.
As part of the implementation, the report states that 62 facilities keeping large carnivores were inspected and permits were issued to all facilities meeting the requirements.
In line with the Constitution and Vision 2030’s aim to ensure the development of Namibia’s natural resources and their sustainable use for the benefit of present and future generations, the ministry awarded eight concessions in 2013 to local communities neighbouring protected areas.
“The aim of awarding the concessions, is not only to create monetary benefits for rural communities, but most importantly to empower them to participate fully in the tourism industry, which is believed to be dominated by previously advantaged Namibians,” the report indicated.
One of the difficulties experienced by MET since the inception of the directorate of scientific services has been the number of vacant professional posts.
It sais not only is considerable time spent travelling to and from meetings, but communication is impeded, in cases where correspondence often takes several days to reach its destination within the ministry, or goes missing altogether.
The same directorate is responsible for the capture, translocation and care of game according to a specific schedule and protocol with support from the ministry’s regional staff where appropriate.
As part of the government’s donation to Cuba, five elephants, five white rhinos and five black rhinos were translocated to Cuba on December 11, 2013. No mortality related to the translocation was recorded. A further 300 head of game were translocated to 14 farms under the wildlife breeding stock loan scheme.