Last week, Namibia was honoured and awarded with the prestigious CIC Markhor Award, at the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC).
The CIC Markhor Award recognises and celebrates outstanding conservation performance by personalities, private and government institutions, enterprises, or conservation projects that link the conservation of biodiversity and human livelihoods through the application of the principles of sustainable use, in particular hunting, as part of wildlife and ecosystem management.
The ceremony took place during the high-level segment of the conference, which saw the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Namibian Association of Community-Based Natural Resource Management Support Organisations (NACSO) jointly receive the award for their outstanding success in wildlife conservation.
“It is not every day that we hear about success stories in the field of nature and wildlife conservation. As such, Namibia should serve as a prime example in terms of its innovative approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, in particular its wildlife.”
“Sustainable hunting serves as a means to alleviate poverty and promote rural development,” said Bernard Lozé, President of the CIC.
“In Namibia, our people made a choice to say ‘we will live with wildlife‘ and we do, with great success!” said Maxi Louis, who spoke on behalf of the Namibian conservancies.
The communal conservancies programme in Namibia, which began with four areas in 1998, now includes 79, covering around 19 percent of the country. Coupled with the creation of new conservancies, many species have seen their numbers increase.
In the northwest Kunene Region, Hartmann’s mountain zebra numbers have grown from approximately 1,000 in 1982 to about 27,000 today.
During that same period, estimates show that the population of the desert-adapted elephants more than quadrupled, from 150 individuals in 1982 to 750 today.
Lions in the Kunene Region have expanded both in range and numbers.
Added to this, Namibia has the largest black rhino population in the world.
“This award will be a motivating factor for us to do even more in the area of conservation, particularly based on the understanding that the sustainable utilization of our natural resources is key,” the Namibian High Commissioner to India said at the award ceremony.
Dr Braulio Dias pointed out that “income from wildlife related activities in conservancies generates employment, enriches incomes of individual community members and is used for investments in communal education and health care facilities and services. Importantly, it also provides the financing of an insurance scheme for losses suffered from human-wildlife conflicts.”