By Confidente Reporter
TWO hundred common impalas, 50 blue wildebeests and 50 elands are being translocated to Khaudum National Park and three neighbouring conservancies. The initiative is co-funded by Namibia and Germany in support of Government’s development and conservation initiatives in north eastern Namibia.
The impalas have just been successfully released into Khaudum National Park and will soon be followed by the blue wildebeests and elands. Some of the impalas have come from the Von Bach Dam (which was overstocked) and the rest have come from private game farms. The elands and wildebeests are coming from Waterberg National Park, which has surplus populations of both species. H. Du Preez Wild was contracted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to carry out the translocations.
Khaudum National Park is part of a complex which includes Nyae Nyae Conservancy to the south, and George Mukoya and Muduva Nyangana conservancies to the north. The new animals will be free to move between the park and these conservancies and will provide for several benefits to conservation and biodiversity, and to local communities and tourism.
Wildlife populations in the Khaudum National Park complex will be enhanced, which includes the neighbouring communal conservancies in the Kavango East and Otjozondjupa East regions.
The ecosystems will be restored through the re-introduction of locally extinct species which used to be found in the area in historic times.
The livelihoods of the people living in the conservancies will be improved through sustainable use of wildlife. This is because they will be able to offer their joint venture partners a bigger range of species for tourism and trophy hunting.
The experience of tourists in Khaudum will be improved as there will be more species to observe and photograph.
Human-wildlife conflict will be reduced because there will be a wider range of appropriate prey species for lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas. It is hoped that this will reduce predation on livestock in nearby farms.
The efforts of Namibian-German cooperation to develop Namibia’s four north-eastern parks (Khaudum, Bwabwata, Mudumu and Nkasa Rupara) are steadily improving the effectiveness of park management. This in turn is having a positive effect on wildlife numbers and the experience of visitors, which bring considerable benefits to the region in general and to local communities in particular. Tourism concessions and hunting projects undertaken by communities in the north east are generating more than N$17.5m per year in local benefits, which are directly linked to the successful management of these parks.
These parks are excellent examples of the ‘Integrated Park Management’ approach to conservation. MET manages the parks as open systems with the participation of neighbouring and resident communities and other stakeholders. The communities have a vested interest in the wellbeing of the parks. Examples of joint management projects include the Mudumu North and South Complexes, which consist of conservancies, community forests, Government, NGOs, the private sector and other stakeholders.
The four national parks in north-eastern Namibia are at the heart of the Kavango- Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area. KAZA comprises a total area of 52 million hectares (about half the size of Namibia) with extraordinary natural attractions and a largely untapped tourism potential. The five neighbouring countries (Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe) decided to develop the KAZA initiative for the benefit of the entire region. Namibia, with its long-standing and successful experience in sustainable and community-based natural resource management, plays a major role in this initiative and is setting examples for the whole KAZA region. Namibia also plays a key role in facilitating the free movement of wildlife between Botswana and Angola.
On behalf of the German Federal Government, the German Development Bank KfW provides support for the development of Namibia’s National Parks as part of its support to natural resource management – one of the three pillars of German-Namibian cooperation. The Namibian National Parks Programme (NamParks) was initiated in 1995 by the MET to foster both nature conservation and socio-economic development in the Kavango and Caprivi Regions. The Namibian and German governments have long realised the substantial contribution national parks bring to economic development. The promotion of sustainable tourism, which is directly linked to national parks, is an effective strategy to enhance growth and employment and thus to reduce poverty. Germany has committed a total of approximately N$400 million for its past and present support to MET’s development and management of national parks.
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