The Lion Rangers’ Leadership Team was honored to attend and present at the recent Namibia National Human-Wildlife Conflict Conference, hosted by Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), which took place in Windhoek from 10-12 May. This three-day, first-of-its-kind conference highlighted the challenges faced by rural communities living alongside wildlife.
Conference attendees included representatives from Parliament, Regional Governors, traditional and local authorities from across Namibia, leadership from the non-governmental and business sectors, farmers, conservancy leadership, researchers, and a variety of conservation stakeholders. This highly professional gathering enabled different stakeholders and members of government to have extended conversations around conservation issues and the challenges of living with wildlife. Each session was organized around scientific findings and research presentations, which not only focused the delegates on evidence-based approaches, but was important for disseminating information to a wider audience.
An entire afternoon session was devoted to the challenges faced by conservancies living alongside large carnivores, emphasizing human-lion conflict. During this session, Lion Rangers Senior Advisor and MEFT Large Carnivore Coordinator, Uakendisa Muzuma presented the findings of the recent Northwest Lion Population Survey, designed and implemented by our Leadership Team. This presentation clearly communicated the effects of the important lion conservation work being undertaken by the Lion Rangers, in partnership with local communities under MEFT’s supervision. Preliminary results from the population survey indicate a healthy lion population of between 56-60 adult individuals and 12-14 cubs. It was reiterated these results are preliminary – a final report with comprehensive analysis will be issued by MEFT later this year.
As part of the conference, MEFT Minister Hon. Pohamba Shifeta reiterated MEFT’s focus on working alongside different stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of conservation efforts without ignoring the costs human-wildlife conflict imposes. The conference demonstrated that human-wildlife conflict is an issue of national importance with far-reaching effects. It is also one requiring consistent attention and innovation as part of moving wildlife conservation forward, particularly lion conservation on communal lands.