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Iono - Behind the Bulletins

Week in Review - 13 January 2018

Namibian children went back to school this week but we also learnt that the 2017 grade 12 Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate ordinary level results were once again disappointing with only 39.3% of candidates attaining a university level pass. It was also revealed that the total amount of money raised in the University of Namibia Student Representative Council's Land-a-Dollar campaign fell far short of their target of between 1 and 3 million Namibian Dollars with the campaign collecting only N$ 234 619, of which 40% was withheld to pay the campaign’s consultancy, Easy Advertising.
 
Sadly though the traditional festive season rush is over there were still deaths being recorded on Namibia's roads with two children dying on the Grootfontein-Rundu road and 5 people dying 70km outside of Katima Mulilo on Monday, while another two people, including an 11 year old girl died about 36 kilometres outside of Usakos on Tuesday afternoon. In slightly better news it is reported that the Municipality of Henties Bay has decided to reward the two boys who saved four other boys from drowning and will begin training lifeguards to serve on the towns beaches, Namibia also lifted the ban on the import of live poultry, and birds, as well as poultry products from Belgium. 
 
South Africa is still battling the listeriosis outbreak which has so far claimed the lives of 61 people since early December, meanwhile in Zambia authorities are battling to contain a growing Cholera outbreak – food imported to Namibia from South Africa is said to be safe for consumption but the government has banned the importation of all food from Zambia until further notice.
 
Still in South Africa there was confusion following the death of a 32 year old farm worker said to have stolen a tractor with local police first having reported that he had been shot by the farmer he worked for and from whom he had stolen the tractor, before the truth came to light that he had in fact been shot by a security officer, who now faces a charge of murder. It was a very bad week for at least 400 residents of the Cape Town informal settlement of Langa who lost their homes after a fire destroyed 159 shacks, residents of Rustenberg, especially foreign nationals meanwhile had to deal with the results of unrest that broke out on Wednesday night and resulted in the torching of at least six buildings and reports that at least 4 Nigerians were hospitalized following the violence. 
 
Elsewhere in Africa the Ivory Coast braced for more violence as reports of gunshots and heavy weapons fire were received from military bases in the restive second-city of Bouake, at least a dozen people were killed in renewed clashes between farmers and cattle herders in central Nigeria, and Tunisia saw renewed protests over austerity measures that resulted in the death of at least two people and the detention of hundreds. Mozambique suffered once again this week as well as the death toll from tropical cyclone Eva reached 33 with at least 22 people missing, and more deaths occurred in the Mediterranean following the foundering of a boat off the coast of Libya, with survivors pointing to anywhere up to 100 people unaccounted for.
 
Elsewhere in the world Swedish clothing giant H&M buckled in the face of a social media storm, removing a hoodie modelled by a young African boy and which carried the inscription 'coolest monkey in the jungle' from their range, a US judge blocked president Trumps repeal of the Obama-era 'Dreamers Act', Malaysia signed a deal with a US company to continue the search for missing flight MH370, at least 17 people died in the south of the US state of California following massive mudslides, and record heat waves in Australia have led to the death of hundreds of bats.
 
And in really good news global investigative journalism received a very welcome boost as the organisers of the Golden Globes granted $1million to the organisation that broke the Panama Papers as well as the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Lions in Erongo Region, Omaruru Area

With reference to reports and complaints of lions in the Omaruru area, Erongo Region, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism would like to clarify as follows:
 
Two unfortunate incidents where over two hundred small livestock where killed by lions in Torra Conservancy, Kunene Region occurred in November 2017. Officials of the Ministry were immediately dispatched to the area when informed about the incidents. A pride of ten to fifteen lions in the area was reported to have killed the livestock.
 
Preliminary investigations confirmed at the time that the first rains that were received in the Kunene Region, resulted in the dispersal of the presence and movements of wild animals in the area making it difficult for lions and other predators to find their natural prey.
 
Addressing Human-Wildlife Conflict requires striking a balance between conservation priorities and the needs of people who live with wildlife. Human wildlife conflict needs to be managed in a way that recognizes the rights and development needs of local communities and farmers, recognizes the need to promote biodiversity conservation, promotes self-reliance and ensures that decision-making is quick, efficient and based on the best available information.
 
In this regard, a decision was taken by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to capture and translocate this pride of ten to fifteen lions to areas where they will not cause any conflict with people. This specific pride was confirmed to consist of a pride of eight lions.
 
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism had no other option but to move these lions to areas where they will not cause any conflicts with people. An alternative was to destroy all the eight lions but this is always the last option.
 
At the time of capture and translocation, there were three private game farms or groups of game farmers who had expressed interest to keep lions. Two of the three were not completely ready, and the third one which is Erongo Mountain Rhino Sanctuary was ready. The Erongo Mountain Rhino Sanctuary in the Omaruru area of the Erongo Region encompasses twenty member farms and twelve geographically incorporated supportive non-member farm units within and surrounding the Erongo Mountains in western Namibia.
 
MET was satisfied with their interest as the habitat is good and they have enough prey for lions. The area is big in size comprising an area of approximately 180 000 ha. Consultations including a meeting with the representatives of Erongo Mountain Rhino Sanctuary was conducted with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism senior officials on the release of the lions.
 
Five lions out of the eight, of which all were sub-adult, were captured and translocated to Erongo Mountain Rhino Sanctuary by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The lions were received by the farm owners. Unfortunately one died due to capture myopathy (capture stress). Capture of the other three lions was attempted. However, the animals moved to inaccessible terrain and the operation was called off. The sentiments of local livestock owners had become considerably less hostile after the successful capture of the five animals.
 
It must be noted that lions naturally occur in the north western part of the country were the relocation occurred. Successful conservation efforts and the growth of communal conservancies in the country during the past twenty (20) years have resulted in an increase of wildlife populations. Nonetheless, the recent drought has reduced prey populations in certain areas which may have drawn lions to seek out livestock prey.
 
The growth of lion population in the north western Namibia has resulted in growth in tourism because nowhere else in the world can free-ranging lions be seen amongst sand dunes or on a beach. Lions should therefore be viewed as a national asset to Namibia that needs to be managed wisely to the optimum benefit of the Namibian people.
 
Our lion conflict reduction management strategies include capture and translocation to other areas where it is deemed that the animal will not cause conflict with people. Lions are captured and translocated to some identified areas. Should such animals continue to cause problems then they can be destroyed. Reduction management strategies also include trophy hunting of certain individual animals.
 
In order for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to manage the human lion conflict, measures have been put in place and are being implemented.
 
This includes improved livestock husbandry. Most conflict situations arise from livestock management practices that leave animals vulnerable to predators, such as allowing livestock to wander untended during the day and not protecting them at night.
 
It must further be noted that Erongo Mountain Rhino Sanctuary has enough prey for lions. Typical Namibian wild animals like kudu, oryx and springbok occur on the farms. Giraffe and eland were also reintroduced and occur in good numbers. The farms also have endemic Namibian ungulates such as Hartmanns zebra, damara dik dik and black faced impala. Food for the lions on the sanctuary is therefore not an issue.
 
Several lodges, guest and hunting farms and campsites have been created within the Erongo Mountain Rhino Sanctuary. The lion population could add to tourism attraction in the area. Altogether 186 directly tourism related jobs have been created on the Sanctuary.
 
Although some people, mainly some individual commercial farmers neighbouring the Erongo Mountain Rhino Sanctuary have complained about the introduction of these lions, there are also other predators in the area such as leopard, hyaena and cheetahs some of which might even be more dangerous to humans than lions based on the rare incidence of leopard attacks on humans compared to the extremely rare incidences of attacks or attempted attacks by lions. Lions have furthermore established themselves in the nearby Ugab River system and were anticipated to gradually extend their range southwards towards the western Omaruru River catchment in suitable habitat. In fact, in 2016 and 2017 reports of lions in the vicinity of Omaruru were received. The farmers concerned also (most of them) run tourism businesses in addition to livestock farming. The reasons to call for the removal of the lions may only be known to them. Until now, the Ministry has not received any substantiated reports that any of the translocated lions had left the Erongo
 
Mountain Rhino Conservancy or had been involved in any livestock conflict outside the conservancy.
 
To avoid any further public concern, a decision has nevertheless been taken that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism will now endeavor to capture these lions and translocate them to one of the National Parks. This capture operation is planned to start immediately. The Ministry would like to appreciate and thank the owners of the Erongo Mountain Rhino Sanctuary who had the interest and volunteered to keep these lions on their Sanctuary, for the conservation of lions in Namibia and benefits of the country from tourism and wildlife management.
 
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism takes issues of Human Wildlife Conflict Management seriously. It is a complex and serious problem that if not addressed appropriately with the necessary understanding and respect, and managed effectively, can harm if not destroy conservation efforts and tourism benefits for the country. We recognize this threat and in this regard we have finalized the review of the National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management which has been approved, in principle, by Cabinet and will now be presented to Parliament.
 
Our officials remain on the ground to assist in all affected areas.
 
Sent via Email
 
Romeo Muyunda
 
Chief PRO
 
0811407844

Week in Review - 29 December 2017

While we wrap up 2017 and get ready to celebrate NYE –  the Brave Warriors arrived in Tunis, Tunisia Thursday night following an 18-hour trip from Windhoek. The team is in Tunisia for a two-week training camp prior to participating in their first ever Africa Nations Championship in Morocco from January 11th to February 4th 2018. And while our boys gear up for the tournament hoping to make us proud, the Youth of the Ondangwa Urban Constituency, made their community elders proud. Through their constituency WhatsApp group,  the youth raised over N.dollars 16 000 to buy food as Christmas gifts for destitute residents of Ondangwa town. Meanwhile, The Namibian Police in the Kavango East Region have applauded the public for their cooperation and good behaviour on Christmas and Family Day and further urged the public to continue cooperating with the police as this will improve the general safety in the region.

In news from South Africa, almost 600 Capetonians had to spend their Christmas evening in a community hall after losing their homes and all their possessions in a fire early Tuesday morning. Miraculously, no one was killed or injured in the blaze in the 7de Laan informal settlement. In Pretoria the Constitutional Court has found that National Assembly failed to hold South African President Jacob Zuma accountable after the Nkandla ruling. In response the ANC says it has noted the judgement and will study the judgement and discuss its full implications when the National Executive Committee meets on the 10th of next month.

In Liberia’s first democratic handover in decades - former soccer star George Weah has won Liberia’s presidential run-off election beating opponent Joseph Boakai. And in Zimbabwe, former army commander who led a military take over that helped end Robert Mugabe’s 37 year rule was on Wednesday sworn in as one of the country’s two vice presidents. In Niger, Italy on Wednesday deployed up to 470 troops to Niger to help tackle people-smuggling, while on Thursday, the country signed 16 cooperation agreements with Morocco to bolster bilateral ties.

In international news - Vietnam has been spared the destruction of a powerful storm which left hundreds dead in the Philippines. Typhoon Tembin was downgraded to a tropical depression on Wednesday and failed to make landfall in Vietnam. On Thursday Britain’s Prince Harry has been named the president of African Parks, a conservation group that manages a dozen wildlife areas across the continent. And finally: The City of Windhoek will be partnering with Namibia Breweries Limited Tafel Lager brand to welcome 2018 in style. The music show will take place from 6pm until midnight at the municipal parking area along Independence Avenue between Sam Nujoma drive and Garten Street.

But what ever your NYE celebrations are, please remember that driving under the influence is against the law.

From all of us here at Radiowave – we wish you a Happy New Year!