Windhoek — Wildlife crime prevention, law enforcement and human-wildlife conflict are among the top priorities of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) for the 2012/2013 financial year.
During her budget statement in Parliament on Thursday, the Minister of Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah requested about N$186 million to fund the Wildlife and Protected Area Management Programme.
“The major impacts from this programme will be to increase the legal and protection status of protected areas, expand the protected area network, and increase the ecological integrity as well as the biodiversity and tourism value of protected areas,” she said.
The requested funds will also cover conservation of wildlife and habitat-management, farm inspections, community-based natural resources management, regulation of hunting and other utilisations of wildlife, and game monitoring.
The total budget for the MET for the 2012/2013 financial year is N$572 million, and includes N$421 million for the ministry’s operations and N$151 million for development projects.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the ministry needs about N$65 million to conduct research on movement patterns of elephants, lions, spotted hyenas, wild dogs, crocodiles, and buffaloes to develop and implement management plans for priority animal and plant species.
Aerial surveys are planned for the Etosha, Mahango, Waterberg and Naukluft national parks, as well as in conservancies.
These activities fall under the Protection and Management of Key Species and Natural Resources Programme of the ministry, which aims among others, to improve natural resources in conservancies, and to increase access for formerly disadvantaged Namibians to wildlife that will complement other forms of land use.
Also under this programme, the ministry will continue to support new product development, such as the commercial trade in medicinal plants while protecting indigenous knowledge. The ministry further requested about N$128.6 million for Community-based Natural Resource Management, and the Gambling and Tourism Development Programme.
“The major impacts from this programme will be continued growth in the tourism sector, increased revenues to the State, employment creation, community participation and ownership in tourism enterprises on communal land, and improved service delivery,” she said.