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Lion-human conflict rages on


As the human wildlife conflict rages on in north-western Namibia, government is not sitting on their laurels on the issue.

Last week, the lion rangers teamed with IRDNC, and Desert Lion Conservation to successfully collar and translocate a problem lion from communal land to Skeleton Coast National Park.

This comes on the backdrop of a team of government staff that visited eight conservancies in Erongo and Kunene to gather feedback on potential human-wildlife conflict measures, last month.

“Progress is being made – but things do not change overnight.  We applaud the efforts of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and their partner organisations,” said Craig Packer and John Heydinger, community activist.

“There is still much work to do, and human-lion conflict will never disappear entirely. But we should all remain dedicated to improving the lives of rural communities and maintaining the momentum to integrate development with meaningful wildlife conservation.”

Last September, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism authored the human-lion conflict management plan for north-west Namibia, which set management priorities for positively addressing human-lion conflict.

Since that time a leadership team, the north-west lion working group, has been coordinating efforts to prevent human-lion conflict within communal areas and to mitigate the conflict when it occurred.

This includes a census of lions in the north-west, the activation of the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC’s) human-wildlife conflict response teams alongside lion rangers in core lion-range conservancies, piloting an early-warning system, and seeking international support to capacitate on-the-ground work.

It has not been all smooth sailing: information-gathering takes time, conflicts do still occur, and financial support for the lion ranger programme has been slow to materialise. However, Namibians should know that the government and fellow citizens are partnering with national and international teams to find solutions.