Wildlife Credits offsets loss of livestock to lions

Farmers recieving payments
Farmers recieving payments
Wildlife Credits beneficiaries
Wildlife Credits beneficiaries

Farmers in Tsiseb Conservancy receive first ever payment from the Wildlife Credits Scheme for livestock killed by lions

Communal farmers in Tsiseb Conservancy who had recently lost livestock due to lions gathered at the Brandberg White Lady Lodge in September for the introduction of the new Wildlife Credits Scheme in the area.

Thanks to the scheme, sightings of lions and elephants are used to generate funds to pay for conservation. In Tsiseb Conservancy, credits are generated through tourists going on game drives at the Brandberg White Lady Lodge, and matching payments from the Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO).

Due to the recent spate of lion attacks on livestock in this area, Tsiseb Conservancy and Brandberg White Lady Lodge, along with the Daure Daman Traditional Authority and the Daures Farmers’ Association decided to assist farmers to deal with lions, including the use of the first funds from the Wildlife Credits Scheme to pay financial offsets for stock losses.

The Chairman of Tsiseb Conservancy, Rev. Zebedeus /Uiseb said “the Scheme is aimed at human-wildlife conflict mitigation”. The scheme has been piloted in several conservancies, and pays for conservation performance, which includes the conservation of wildlife and its habitat. This is monitored by conservancies, and by lodges offering game drives. Rev. /Uiseb added that the scheme is independent and should not be confused with the government’s Human Wildlife Conflict Self Reliance Scheme, which provides limited financial offsets to farmers for stock and crop losses.

Representing the Daures Farmers’ Union, the Chairman, Mr. Issakar Kamendu, stated that brand numbers can identify stock lost to predators and he further emphasised that farmers should be looking after their animals, using kraals and herders. He noted that when the conservancy was first established, the farming community thought that game species like ostrich, springbok, and kudu would increase in the area and provide benefits. They did not think about the lions or elephants that would also increase and cause losses. Nonetheless, he called on the farmers to support the conservancy, as wildlife tourism has the potential to generate jobs and income.

A representative from the Daure Daman Traditional Authority, Councillor Jacqueline /Awases, spoke on behalf of the Chief: “I know that the money provided today for the losses is not enough, and that the farmers have suffered; however, with these funds we are able to at least meet the farmers half way”. She further expressed her gratitude to the Conservancy and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism: “The information received from these parties was used to determine what livestock was lost, and to make sure the right farmers will receive a payout today.” On behalf of the traditional authority she pledged continued support for the conservancy regarding human-wildlife conflict.

When handing out payments to the farmers, the manager of Tsiseb Conservancy, Mr. Eric Xaweb, added: “Our decision on which farmers would be paid was based on good evidence of lion predation collected by the conservancy game guards, the Ministry, and [lion researcher] Dr. Philip Stander. The total losses since September 2017 amount to 35 goats, 3 cows, and 5 donkeys.” He further announced plans to collect accurate numbers of livestock owned in the conservancy, and to build predator-proof kraals in the area: “We will engage with the farmers to find out where to put these kraals, and to create awareness about how to protect their livestock from predators in future.”

All of the representatives expressed their deep gratitude towards the parties, including the Namibia Nature Foundation and NACSO, for facilitating the establishment of the scheme, and the Brandberg White Lady Lodge for partnering with Tsiseb Conservancy to generate Wildlife Credit funds. The scheme is an innovative approach that rewards communities for protecting wildlife. Payments received from Wildlife Credits can be used to ensure the maintenance of wildlife and to reduce human-wildlife conflict.

Read more about Wildlife Credits.

Gail C. Potgieter
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