Education on croc attacks yielding fruits


THE police in both Kavango East and Kavango West regions say that public education which the regional police and other stakeholders took a few years ago with regard to the danger of crocodiles along the Kavango River is producing favourable results.

This is when looking at the declining cases of attacks by the vicious reptiles, they say.

According to the police in the two regions, incidents of death and injury caused by crocodiles have decreased tremendously thanks to education campaigns run by the police with stakeholders like traditional, local and regional authorities in the two respective regions.

The public education campaign focuses primarily on the youth as they are the ones that mostly fall victim to crocodile attacks.

Speaking to Confidente this week, Kavango West regional crime coordinator (RCC) Deputy Commissioner Abner Agas said since January last year only two people were killed by crocodiles in the area, in juxtaposition to the number of lives lost in the past years due to attacks blamed on crocodiles.

Agas said in both cases, the crocodiles were shot dead by nature conservation officials.

He said the decrease is because of the ongoing campaign which discourages communities adjacent to the river to cease bathing, swimming and fetching water from the river.

“The police are sensitising community members to refrain from bathing and fetching water from the river because most of the villages have installed taps. Where there are no taps, we encourage them to approach the river with caution,” he stressed.

According to him, due to the public education about the danger posed by crocodiles, attacks now do not occur frequently but only once in a while.

The police commissioner pointed out the Musese and Kapako constituencies as the two mostly affected in the region when it comes to crocodile attacks. Agas said the age group of most victims has been those between 10 and 30 years who he said are killed due to ignorance.

Police Deputy Commissioner and regional crime coordinator in Kavango East Bonifasius Kanyetu said two people were killed by crocodiles this year. The deaths occurred in the Mukwe and Ndiyona constituencies.

Kanyetu said the body of the victim in the Mukwe incident was recovered whilst the one in the Ndiyona attack was never recovered.

Last week, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta told Confidente that in the last financial year, government spent more than N$1 million in contributions to people killed and injured by wild animals countrywide.

According to Shifeta, as per government policy, the state contributes N$100 000 per person killed by a wild animal whilst N$10 000 is paid to anyone injured.

The minister said the money should not be termed as compensation but rather contribution because: “No money can buy or compensate for a lost life. These are just contributions that go towards the funeral and other expenses”.