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MET investigates officials reluctance to respond to lion alerts

WINDHOEK, 12 JUL (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) is investigating the alleged misconduct of its staff who fail to respond timeously to lion and other predator alerts.
This was revealed by the Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta in the National Assembly on Tuesday, after Minister of Presidential Affairs, Frans Kapofi expressed concern about reports of a man who was attacked by a lion in the Kunene Region last week.
Kapofi said the rangers were notified that a lion was seen in the area the night before the attack, but they did not respond.
He said it appeared as if MET staff are not keen to work after hours and thus do not attend to such reports by farmers.
“We have some challenges where officials only respond when they are paid overtime. They only want to work within the working time,” he complained.
Shifeta said he will report back to the public once investigations are concluded.
DTA of Namibia president McHenry Venaani, who started the debate, said there was an increase in the number of lions roaming freely on farms, especially near the Etosha National Park.
He said the Ministry of Environment and Tourism was quiet about the latest attack and wanted to know from Shifeta why the ministry was unable to fix the fence at Etosha.
Venaani said young children pass through the area on their way to school.
Shifeta in his explanation, told Members of Parliament that not all lions were from Etosha as others escaped the drought in other areas.
He added that his ministry had completed some parts of the fence and was trying to prioritise areas where people live nearby.
“Predators try to go out because when there is livestock close to the park, they are tempted,” he said.
Shifeta informed the House that his ministry has advised and informed farmers living close to the Etosha National Park to fence off their land, adding that most of them have linked their fences to the Etosha fence.

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