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Community Support

For many years AfriCat North has been directly involved with human-wildlife conflict incidents on communal and commercial farmland adjacent to the Etosha National Park.

The AfriCat Community Support Programme directly supports and uplifts the communal farming communities along the western, north-western and northern borders of the Etosha National Park. Incidents of lion-related conflict along the Etosha borders, as well as in some neighbouring communal conservancies, are frequent. By improving on their livestock protection methods, both communal and commercial farming communities will lose less livestock and, with continued support and education, these communities will destroy fewer lions.

africat community support1lion guard meeting in the fieldafricat community supportafricat community kraal handover

In 2002 AfriCat North (then Afri-Leo) initiated the Etosha Boundary Fence Project to mitigate the conflict situations which arose when lions left the confines of protected areas and killed livestock on commercial and communal farmland. The border fence between farmland and the Park is not predator-proof and the Government’s policy is not to pay compensation for the high stock losses. Together with the Etosha-based Ministry of Environment and Tourism a monitoring programme was conducted on 40 of the 50 commercial farms along the southern boundary of Etosha. Based on the findings AfriCat North committed itself to supporting the upgrading of certain sections of this boundary, so-called “Hot Spots”, where cross-border lion movement increased seasonally. A ten-kilometre section of the fence was electrified and entry/exit holes repaired. The affected farmers were encouraged to monitor, maintain and repair their side of the fence on a regular basis and the Etosha fencing teams agreed to do the same. The success of the project was evident in the restricted lion movement and subsequent reduced livestock losses for two seasons. Thereafter, the farmers inexplicably refrained from regular maintenance and, together with increased cross-border elephant movement and grass and bush growth, this section of the fence has once again fallen into disrepair. Increased lion movement has resulted in increased livestock loss, with the annual destruction of approximately 12 to 15 lions on these specific properties.

kraal-building-africatmarienhoehe-community-kraal

April 2004 saw the start of the Communal Farms Fence Programme, after AfriCat North was contacted by Headman Max Haraseb of the Khoa di //Hoas Conservancy in the Kunene region, with a request for help with lion conflict on Marienhöhe farm. Marienhöhe is the first communal farm west of the main road to Ruacana, and shares a common border with the Etosha National Park. AfriCat North pledged support to assist with fence repair along the 18 kilometre border between the Hobatere* conservation area and the communal farms. Mesh and steel wire, fence posts and food for the men at work, were donated. The communal farmers carried out the fence repair and regular maintenance and fence patrols were implemented, minimising the cross-border movement of lions. Livestock losses were reduced from 36 - 40 per annum to 6 - 10 and cooperation between the Etosha wardens and these border farmers also improved.

upgrading kraalbush barrier

AfriCat North started the Livestock Protection Programme in 2008. Farmers are encouraged to adopt modern farm-management techniques and more importantly to improve on livestock protection methods, i.e. building stronger kraals (pens) and reinstating herdsmen. This programme is the essence of AfriCat’s support of communal farming communities: Improved Livestock Management: The resultant minimised losses and subsequent increased profits will allow for greater tolerance of predators. Poverty Reduction: Improved livestock management and farming techniques and effective, well-planned herd management will produce higher quality livestock allowing for improved mass and higher prices fetched at auctions. Employment Opportunities: Communal conservancies have paved the way for increased value (and therefore greater protection) of all forms of wildlife. For some communities the benefits of conserving and protecting their wildlife are tangible; revenue generated by the lodges and other tourism-related activities is used to build schools and supplement school fees. Employment opportunity within the conservancy has been greatly improved. Pride and a sense of achievement, previously lacking, are now evident in the increasing number of tour guides and game-guards employed by their own conservancies. The more commitment to conservation evident in these conservancies and the more wildlife seen, the more tourists will visit: as sustainable elephant, rhino and lion populations become more visible, the more revenue will be generated. * The Hobatere conservation area of approximately 85 000 acres is state-owned but privately managed.

africat north activity map 2016 2018

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