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Compiled Sanet van Zijl
Germany has allocated about N$400 million to the development and management of Namibia’s national parks. Recently 200 impalas were released into Khaudum National Park as part of this initiative.
A total of 200 impalas, 50 eland and 50 blue wildebeest have been relocated to the Khaudum National Park and three surrounding conservation areas.
Adjoining Khaudum are the communal conservancies of Nyae Nyae, Muduva Nyangana and George Mukoya. The animals will be allowed to roam freely between the park and these conservation areas. This holds benefits for nature conservation, biodiversity of the areas, the local communities and tourism.
The impalas have recently been released into Khaudum and the blue wildebeest and eland will follow shortly. Some of the impalas come from the Von Bach Dam, which was overpopulated and the rest of them come from private game farms. The blue wildebeest and eland come from the Waterberg Plateau Park, which has surplus populations.
The initiative has been financed by the German and Namibian governments with the objective of conservation and development in north-eastern Namibia. The German development bank KfW is offering support on behalf of the German government for the development of Namibia’s national parks. While Namibia’s ministry’s national parks program, NamParks, has been promoting conservation and socioeconomic development in the Kavango and Zambezi regions since 1995, this is a very welcome investment into the Khaudum area and other national parks projects.
Wildlife populations in Khaudum, as well as the communal conservancies in the areas of Kavango-east and eastern Otjozondjupa will increase and ecosystems will recover as a result of the reintroduction of locally extinct animals. The living conditions of the local communities will improve through the sustainable use of the wildlife. There will be a greater variety of species to offer to tourism and trophy hunting. The experience of visitors to Khaudum will also improve, as there will be more species to see and photograph.
The hope is that human-wildlife conflict will decrease, as there is now more animals available for predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas to hunt. Hopefully the predators will now refrain from hunting livestock on neighbouring farms.
The efforts of the Namibian-German partnership is to develop Namibia’s four north-eastern parks – Khaudum, Mudumu, Bwabwata and Nkasa Rupara. These parks are an excellent example of the integrated parks management approach for nature conservation. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism manages the parks as open systems with the contribution of local communities. The four national parks in north-eastern Namibia are in the heart of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KaZa) with a total surface area of 52 million hectares. Namibia plays a big role in KaZa’s success with its experience in sustainable resources management.