Namibia’s conservancy movement has been the catalyst for change across rural Namibia, changing landscapes and lives. Conservancies are home to one in four rural Namibians who have made the choice to live with wildlife, a choice which has led to expanding range and numbers of wildlife populations. Through wildlife management and joint venture tourism enterprises, conservancies have helped to establish wildlife-based economies, providing training and jobs in rural areas.
Another critical product of conservancies is the sense of pride conservancy members take in protecting and share their stunning land and the spectacular wildlife and ecosystems that it helps to protect.
“Nature is important to me because my children can see wildlife in its natural habitat and not on TV or in books” Isaac Sililo, Field officer- Sikunga Conservancy, Zambezi region.
Due to COVID 19, hunting and tourism operations have been affected, with no income coming into the conservancy. Lodges are unable to pay fees to the conservancy, the travel restrictions have caused there to be no foreign tourists which the lodge relies on. There are a few incidences of subsistence poaching and this is being addressed by increasing the community awareness on the importance of wildlife. Despite COVID 19, conservation continued. Game guards have continued to patrol throughout the lockdown period because we cannot neglect our work. Game guards are always in the field to protect our wildlife.
The Conservation Relief, Recovery and Resilient Facility (CRRRF) is very helpful because even though we continued with our work, our salaries were cut, and the facility funds will be used towards helping game guard and staff salaries. If COVID continues this way things will go down so my hope is that we find ways to work around pandemic.
" When you can, come and take part in the fishing experience at Sikunga. We have big tiger fish in this area, and you can catch some Nembwe as well. We have wildlife such as elephants, black faced impalas, blue wildebeest, and kudus. So, on one of the game drives you are guaranteed to see these animals."
Read more from the conservancies at Voices in Conservation.