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Zambezi residents contribute to wildlife protected management bill

KATIMA MULILO, 13 SEP (NAMPA) – Residents of the Zambezi Region on Tuesday contributed to the review of the national human wildlife conflict management bill at Katima Mulilo.
More than 50 people from nature conservation, hospitality and tourism sectors in the region attended the one-day stakeholders consultative meeting here.
Senior government officials in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) are conducting consultative meetings countrywide on the new wildlife conflict and protected area management bill.
Simone Hichellti from the Nkasa Rupara National Game Park said the non-existence of tourism policies in the country is a big concern to him.
Hichellti said even the new revised policy document on human wildlife conflict management does not contain a section or clause on general tourism matters.
Lecturer at the University of Namibia's Katima Mulilo campus, Dr Edwin Muradzikwa proposed the inclusion of incentives to law enforcement agents dealing with wildlife in order to motivate them.
He said if law enforcement agents are not well incentivised, most of them will become victims of lucrative bribes from poachers who will opt to escape the heavy penalties imposed on them once convicted.
Muradzikwa also urged the ministry to consider a clause in the new bill on the remuneration of the victims of road accidents caused by wildlife.
“The ministry must reconsider and answer in the new bill the question of who owns the natural resources, since we all know that they are God-given resources,” said Jim Kairu who also attended the consultative meeting.
Meanwhile, MET's Director of Wildlife Management, Colgar Sikopo during the consultation said the new bill is expected to repeal the Nature Conservation Ordinance of 1975.
He said the bill was also prompted by continuous concerns of wildlife and protected area management including incidences of human wildlife conflicts and poaching countrywide.
“The bill will also give powers to the minister - powers that are not provided for in the current legislature,” Sikopo said.
He said the bill includes increased penalties imposed on convicted poachers, compensation on human and livestock loss and crop damages through the human wildlife conflict.
Sikopo said the penalties for convicted poachers is proposed to reach a maximum of N.dollars 50 million or 25 years imprisonment or both.
The consultations started on Monday in Rundu in the Kavango East.
Kunene is next to be visited by his team.

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