WINDHOEK – Despite the National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management stipulating it is not government’s plan to compensate farmers for losses caused by wild animals, government agreed to assist with funeral expenses and related costs valued at N$100 000, for human deaths stemming from such conflicts.
It is stated that this financial support to bereaved families is aimed at covering basic funeral costs and is not in any way intended as compensation for loss of life.
Compensation schemes implemented elsewhere has proved to be very problematic and open to abuse. This is according to the new revised National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management, which was launched by Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta on Monday.
Therefore, the policy says there is a need to find other means to offset the losses caused by wildlife and at the same time build the self-reliance of farmers.
It stipulates that although the government cannot be held legally responsible for the death of a person killed by a wild animal, there are moral obligations on the government to support the family of such a person.
The government through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has therefore decided to adopt the policy of providing funeral expenses for such a family.
The revised policy revealed other approved amounts for payment through the Human Wildlife Conflict Self Reliance Scheme such as those injured with no loss of body part are to receive N$10 000.
Further, a sum of N$30 000 will be given to victims injured with loss of body part, while those left with disability due to wildlife conflict will receive N$50 000.
In terms of this policy, livestock include cattle, goats, sheep, donkey, horse and sheep.
The government will folk out N$3 000 per cattle (cow or bull), N$500 for a goat, N$700 for a sheep, N$800 per horse, N$500 for the loss of a donkey while a killed pig will cost N$700. Payments under the Human Wildlife Conflict Self Reliance Scheme are made to cover livestock losses at rates, which do not cover the full value of the animal concerned, but aim to partially offset the loss to the farmer. A payment at a determined rate would also be made to cover for damages caused to crops as well for human death and injuries to people.
The Human Wildlife Conflict Self Reliance Scheme shall apply to both conservancy and non-conservancy areas on State Land and Resettlement farms, but not on private land.
This policy will apply to incidents of livestock death caused by wild animals, provided that no payments will be made for livestock killed in a National Park or Conservancy exclusive wildlife zone. Payment will be made in a multiple use area of a zoned National Park. Another condition is that livestock death must be reported within one day of the incident occurring unless a valid reason of not doing so as stipulated is provided and the evidence thereof is still visible.
Further, the cause of death must be verified by a ministry staff member or a community game guard where such structure exists.
The policy indicates no payment will be made if the livestock was killed without reasonable precautions being put in place.
Payments to crops will be made to damages caused only by elephants, buffaloes and hippopotamus. Damages by other animals are difficult to verify and can be misused.
Such damages by other animals can also be controlled by farmers. Crops will include maize, millet, sorghum and vegetables.
Human wildlife conflicts in Namibia have become more frequent and severe over recent decades as a result of human population growth, wildlife population growth, unplanned agricultural activities, and expansion of agricultural and industrial activities which together have led to increased human encroachment on previously wild and uninhabited areas.