Ministry of Environment says removal of cattle from Bwabwata will not negatively impact livelihoods

Ministry of Environment says removal of cattle from Bwabwata will not negatively impact livelihoods
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The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism says the removal of cattle from the Bwabwata National Park will not impact people's livelihoods negatively.
Hambukushu Traditional Authority (HTA) rejected the implementation of the Cabinet Decision of 1999 that bans cattle in the game park.
The traditional authority and the Hambukushu community held a meeting where they resolved to contest the ministry's decision to get rid of cattle held in the park, in court.
The traditional authority says it was not consulted nor does it approve of the proclamation of Bwabwata as a game park.
Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources Management, Colgar Sikopo refutes the community's allegations.
"We have engaged the HTA on the park itself. We know that the leadership has been against the existence of the park. We are not talking about the establishment because this is a park that has been in existence since 1963. It's just the status that has been changing. In 1963 it was a nature park, in 1998 it was elevated to game park then in 2007 that's when it was reproclaimed, as Bwabwata National Park," said Sikopo.
He said through the Kyaramacan Association, the San community living in the park earn up to N$5 million annually from trophy hunting concessions alone and added that on the Zambezi side of the park, communities benefit through the Mashi, Kwando and Mayuni conservancies.
He also said the removal of cattle will not be done haphazardly but with careful consideration to ensure livelihoods are not disrupted.
"Unfortunately this decision on cattle removal has not been implemented fully the other decisions on renaming and benefits to park residents were totally implemented but the cattle removal is one decision that have not been implemented and the ministry is working on modalities on how this should be done," said Sikopo.
He noted that Bwabwata became a wildlife conservation area in 1963, but was disrupted by military occupation until Independence.
Through the 1999 Cabinet Decision, Kwando Triangle and Mahango Core Area became part of the then Caprivi Game Park, re-proclaimed as Bwabwata National Park, in 2007.
The traditional authority wants the park land to be allocated to residents for farming purposes.