Boundary Fence Programme
Hobatere Southern Boundary
The Southern boundary of the Hobatere Concession Area is a Human-Wildlife Conflict ‘hot-spot’. The 22km, cattle-proof fence ideally separates Hobatere from the Marienhoehe & Kamdescha farming communities of the #Khoa di // Hoas Conservancy. This fence was erected in the ‘60’s and has fallen into disrepair. In 2004, the Chief requested of AfriCat North (renamed Namibian Lion Trust), to help solve the high livestock loss as lions moved freely from Hobatere onto farmland. Fence-materials and food were provided for the farmers who volunteered their services, motivated by the desire to protect their livelihood.
For a few years, the community members regularly patrolled & maintained this fence; during this period, livestock losses to lion were reduced from 50 animals to less than 10 per year.
However, over the last decade, the fence has been neglected, allowing wildlife and livestock to freely move in and out of the Hobatere Concession, a wildlife protected area. The dilapidated fence is now in need of complete reconstruction. Attempts have been made to raise funds for the reconstruction, follow the ‘Get Involved’ link below.
Etosha Western Boundary
The Etosha National Park is completely surrounded by a high fence, which also requires regular maintenance due to the natural, back-and-forth migration of wildlife. Migration is essential to survival, especially due to Namibia’s dry climate.
In 2016, the Ministry of Environment & Tourism began to reconstruct their border around the so-called Kaross Block, a small 14,000 ha area dedicated to plains-game breeding. An elephant-and predator-proof fence has since been erected (2016-2019), primarily to control wildlife movement out of and into this section of Etosha. This new fence has greatly minimized the movement of the resident lions from Kaross Block onto communal and free-hold farmland.
The following year, the Namibian Lion Trust senior Lion Guard, Jackson Kavetu, became inspired by this renewed fencing project and organised a group of farmer-volunteers from the Ehi-Rovipuka Conservancy, to assist the Etosha Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET). This programme contributes to the ongoing repair and maintenance of elephant breaks and holes dug by burrowing animals along the western Etosha border; this effectively reducing farmer-predator conflict on adjacent communal farmland.
Commitment by the farming community and Namibian Lion Trust, to actively support the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in jointly undertaking preventative measures, limits livestock loss to ‘conflict wildlife’ along the boundaries with Protected Areas. This shows a change of mindset, greater tolerance and willingness to co-exist in the challenging landscape. For years, farming communities have blamed the Ministry for their losses due to the porous fence-line; this initiative is an effort to tackle problems proactively, rather than waiting for an incident to justify the persecution of large carnivores. The work is tiring, time-consuming and challenging, and yet, farmers have chosen to engage in an enlightened approach to protect their livestock.
These particular projects resonate with the aims of the Namibian Lion Trust: to empower people to protect their livelihood, simultaneously encouraging a change of heart towards ‘conflict wildlife’.
Please consider supporting such initiatives, ultimately uplifting farming communities and mitigating conflict with Wildlife.