The newly unveiled park stations will enable the ministry’s staff to perform their duties better and they offer an improved experience for visitors to Bwabwata. Staff had lived and worked in deplorable and old accommodation facilities used previously by members of the South African Defence Force before independence.
The new park infrastructure was erected in the Susuwe Park within the Bwabwata National Park and at Ngenda station in the Mudumu National Park. Herunga said the energy-saving new staff houses are an investment and a benchmark for other parks to follow. He also handed 70 bicycles to game rangers to use while patrolling the park that has experienced an upsurge in elephant poaching in recent months. The minister also launched the integrated development plan for the Namibian component of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area commonly known as KAZA TFCA.
|Fast facts about Bwabwata National Park:|
|Location||North-East Namibia, Centre of KAZA TFCA|
|Area||6 274 sq. km|
|Number of people living in the park||5 500|
|How Bwabwata was formed||Uniting of Caprivi Game Park and the Mahango Game Reserve|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia|
KAZA TFCA is a partnership between Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Herunga said since 2006, the ministry’s NamParks programme has systematically built a programme that cares for the people living in northeast Namibia as it does for the region’s remarkable biodiversity. The German government supports NamParks through its development bank, known as KfW.
Herunga said under the NamParks programme, there has been significant progress and development. “NamParks has pioneered a fresh approach to managing protected areas. Our northeast parks symbolise a new approach to the protection of our precious biodiversity. An approach that integrates development and the needs of park residents and neighbours into planning and management,” he said. Currently there are 79 communal area conservancies, which stretch over more than 160 000 square km. There are 13 conservancies in the Caprivi Region and four in the Kavango Region.
Herunga said the north-east parks are among a new generation of parks that embrace conservancies and community forests. They work together through committees such as the Bwabwata Technical Committee, the Mudumu north complex and the Mudumu south complex to ensure an integrated approach to park management. “This management method is seeing benefits to communities and is creating jobs, notably through tourism and trophy hunting,” he explained.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism works with its counterparts in Botswana, Zambia and Angola to combat elephant poaching.
Date: 5 August 2013