To balance the books and provide incentives for people to keep wildlife on the land, we work with designated Local Conservation Areas, comprising Namibia’s communal conservancies and other areas which are often adjacent or close to national parks. The 86 conservancies covering almost 20% of Namibia are self-governing entities, which confer rights over tourism and wildlife to local people.
Each Local Conservation Area can estimate its average annual human-wildlife conflict cost, based on monitoring data from the previous year. Conservancies use ‘event books’ to monitor wildlife movement, and to record crop and stock losses. Average values are used for the different types of livestock that are lost, as well as for damaged crop areas and infrastructure. While these figures are national averages that often fall well below potential market values, they provide a valuable baseline to assess the costs of damage and losses.
The funds needed to offset these costs form a Human-wildlife conflict mitigation funding baseline for each area. Local Conservation Area Funds are set up for all areas participating in the Wildlife Credit scheme via a joint-venture lodge. These lodges are jointly owned and managed by communal conservancies and private sector investors. In areas where wildlife is maintained or increasing, tourism grows and brings income to rural communities.
The aim is to fully cover human-wildlife conflict costs through funds generated from Wildlife Credits and related funding mechanisms. This will enable communal farmers to live with wildlife.