Natural resources management activities remain a core priority for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), conservation communities and support organisations. The mission of the Directorate of Wildlife and National Parks is to promote the conservation of natural resources and wildlife habitat in Namibia and to ensure the sustainable use of wildlife resources.
On 29-30 October, CBNRM staff from the MET and some conservation support organisations such as Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO), Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), Nyae Nyae Development Foundation (NNDF), met at Windhoek Safari Conference Centre to assess the current monitoring systems in conservancies and reflect on the current quota setting process.
“Let us use this time to review our quota setting and monitoring system to help inform decisions of the sustainable use of wildlife resources”, said Colgar Sikopo, Director of Wildlife and National Parks, in his welcoming remarks.” Wildlife monitoring and quota setting are important components of the sustainable utilisation of wildlife in conservancies and National Parks.
The environment ministry and the various NGOs often work together on numerous conservation issues. This time they were working to ensure that wildlife monitoring systems are strengthened and continue to benefit both the environment and communities who live with wildlife. One of the reasons for the review is to make sure that proper systems that regulate wildlife management and offtake corresponds with the current circumstances. This was highlighted by the NACSO Director, Maxi Louis who pointed out that “CBNRM started when there were good rainfall and animals were thriving. We have to think differently and adjust accordingly in times of abundance and in times of drought when there is less, as is the case now.”
Presentations on current monitoring systems of some specific wildlife species such as elephants, predators, huntable birds, and wetland species were given by experts in the field, leading to some thought-provoking discussions and reflections on the successes and challenges, and thereafter recommendations for revising the current monitoring systems.
“This is a work in progress. We need to work on something, let the process run for a while and then come back to it again. What is equally important is that the task team and the CBNRM technical staff need to take ownership of the amendments through implementation and make sure that conservancies also understand how it works,” said Uatirohange Tjiuoro, MET Chief Warden for CBNRM, who then thanked NGO partners for their continuous support in improving the system.