News | New Carnivore Conservation Policy Almost Ready

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Compiled Sanet van Zijl

Namibia supports a variety of free ranging large carnivores comprised of lions, leopards, cheetah, spotted hyena, brown hyena, African wild dogs and caracal.

The facts are that: the cheetah is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List for endangered animals; one third of the entire cheetah population live in central Namibia; the leopard’s range of distribution has decreased radically over the last few years due to hunting and loss of habitat and commercial farmland provides the habitat for 90% of the national cheetah population. The brown hyena is considered to be extremely vulnerable in Namibia and it is likely to become endangered if present declining population trends are to continue.

Brown Hyaena

Brown Hyena, Hyaena brunnea. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk

male lion

Male lion, Panthera leo. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk


Leopard, Panthera pardus. Photo courtesy: Harnas Wildlife Foundation


Spotted hyenas bathing, Crocuta crocuta. Photo ©Annabelle Venter


Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus. Photo courtesy: Cheetah Conservation Fund

The Namibian government recognised that a strong policy structure is needed for the preservation of its large carnivores. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) decided to take on this task by structuring this policy in a sustainable manner.

In 2014 the policy was drafted and approved by the ministry and in December 2014 it was presented to the Cabinet for approval. The Cabinet has yet to make a decision on this matter.

The policy is intended to be a guideline for the management and conservation of Namibian large carnivores. Large carnivores have very specific environmental needs, which has an economic impact on communal and private landholders.

Among the other reasons for drafting the policy is the lack of dedicated research and monitoring programmes for large carnivores; increasing interest in the utilization of carnivores in certain areas and involving those on whose land large carnivores reside.

The policy will demand species-specific conservation efforts; research and monitoring programmes; farming practices that are friendly to large carnivores; sustainable utilization of large carnivores; standard operational protocols and stakeholder engagement platforms.

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