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human-wildlife conflict, Namibia
An elephant is killed by a farmer protecting his crops © Namibian Broadcasting Corporation

A recent update to the Namibian National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict hopes to reduce human-wildlife conflict from the current incidents of about 5 000 per year, to fewer than 1 000 by 2021.

The policy was first released in 2009 by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to address the human-wildlife conflict that occurs all too often between wildlife and the rural communities and farmers that share the same land. Although human-wildlife conflict will most likely never disappear, it can at least be reduced and effectively managed.

Recent increases in incidents of human-wildlife conflict reveal gaps in the policy, highlighting a need to create new initiatives and management plans in order to prevent and mitigate human-wildlife conflict.

Examples of human-wildlife conflict that have created the most negative international publicity include lions being killed in retaliation for killing livestock and elephants being killed in retaliation for damaging crops and infrastructure and for killing people.

The review of the policy began in September 2016, with public consultations held throughout the regions and a national workshop conducted earlier this year, and finally a revised draft policy for 2017 was released. The policy update is a comprehensive document, which outlines many steps to be taken by MET and other parties.

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