Drought kills rhino calf in Kunene
Khorixas – An endangered black rhino calf and hartebeest are among the wildlife that succumbed to the drought in the northwestern Kunene due to waterpoints drying out in some of the conservancies.
Chairperson of Sorri Sorris Conservancy Rhodella Eichas told New Era a hartebeest and gemsbok died in her area recently, as well as other wildlife.
“Wildlife, such as hartebeest and gemsbok, as well as others are dying as the dams they used to get water from are drying up,” a concerned Eichas said. According to her, the dams in the conservancy dried up as they did not get rain for months now and the drought is also affecting wildlife.
A member of the management committee of a conservancy based in Kunene, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of poachers, said a black rhino calf, named ‘Mannetjie’ had died on December 7 after a dam that was used by wildlife in the conservancy dried up.
“Mannetjie died in early December as the two dams we have in the conservancy have dried up,” the management committee member said. The conservancy’s name cannot be revealed, as it teems with wildlife. The victims of the drought include many springbok, gemsbok and kudu.
Game guards are said to regularly find dead carcasses of wildlife during patrols. Calls were made for the government to clean wells, as well as drill new boreholes to get water and safe the wildlife from perishing, as most rural conservancies survive from tourism-related activities.
Some farmers who bought farms in areas in northern Kunene are said to have blocked the natural springs that flowed to other areas and this may have affected some conservancies as it prevents them from accessing water for wildlife.
“Let’s work together and save the remaining wildlife, as they (wildlife) provide a means survival for rural communities, as most rural communities survive from tourism-related business or benefit from conservancies,” she urged.
Tourism forms the backbone of the economy of the Kunene Region, where some communities have entered joint ventures in lodges and campsites. Craft markets can also be seen along the road throughout the region, emphasising the importance of tourism to the regiona’s inhabitants.