Namibian Elephant Corridor

22. July 2022

After alarming news from Namibia about oil prospecting in nature reserves, trophy hunting, selling live elephants and ivory stocks, there appears to be some good news for elephants in Namibia according to an article in Le Monde of June 11, 2022, written by special correspondent Laurence Caramel. *

A green corridor of 20 km connects the national park of Mudumu bordering the Zambezi Kavango Reserve, thus opening access to the largest potential nature reserve on the planet: More than 500 000 square kms in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia. This passage is essential for elephants to have access to the entire protected area while migrating during the long dry season between April and November.

Savannah elephants in Namibia. Photo credit: Glen Bloomfield

It represents an original approach by convincing the local population not to install themselves or extend  their fields within the corridor. An approach if widely adopted could change wildlife conservation in rural Africa. With the assistance of a South African liquor brand, an initial donation of about 10 000 euros has been transferred to the community association representing about 1000 farmers to keep the Sobbe passage free from settlement and agriculture. If the corridor’s clearly defined area will thus remain pristine, that is, strictly reserved for migrating animals,  50 000 additional Namibian dollars  will be transferred to the community association each year. Satellite images and cameras will verify and control  plant coverage and density of animal migration.

Elephants in the Okavango river delta in Botswana. Pho Credit/ Glen Bloomfield

The amounts thus paid to the community are an attempt to compensate its members for their estimated costs of living together with wild animals. To make this work longterm it is important to determine the amounts satisfying the people to be compensated and finding additional sources for paying such sums. To safeguard elephants and other wild animal species by compensating communities living next to nature reserves has been supported by the Word Wildlife Fund for more than 30 years.

Properly funding real conservation efforts could thus  be achieved as a form of reparation payment by rich industrial countries to countries rich in bio-diversity.  It implies wide acceptance that all wild animal species should have the right to conduct their lives freely with dignity, for without such acceptance human morality is meaningless and endangers our own survival. In this context Namibia’s support of the Sobbe corridor is a step in the right direction.

However, such programs ultimately need to support the  communities directly impacted by their required conservation efforts without being considered as a source of additional revenues for governments and stakeholders of private companies continuing to exploit wild animals as tradable commodities.  Also, wildlife corridors between protected areas will at certain times contain a concentration of wildlife, tempting legal and illegal “harvesting” for still more profits,  thereby defeating its sustainable conservation objectives. Such passes will therefore require special protection.

 

 

*https://www.lemonde.fr < Le Monde Afrique < Biodiversité 9 juillet 2022 En Namibia, un corridor protégé facilite les déplacements de la faune  – Windhoek – envoyé spéciale Laurence Caramel

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