For most conservation is an easy concept to adopt. We take it for granted that we should do our best to preserve biodiversity and not to upset the balance of ecosystems.
Of course things aren’t always as simple your livelihood is threatened by these very same efforts. A healthy ecosystem is reliant on predators to keep animal populations in check. Unfortunately these predators often see domesticated animals as part of the menu and particularly easy to catch. This can lead to devastating losses to farmers leading to the indiscriminate killing of “problem” animals through trapping, hunting and poisoning.
Escalating pressure on the land is forcing predators to move further afield into communal and agricultural farmland where human and wildlife conflict has become an almost daily occurrence.
In order to help preserve the conservancy’s carnivores and to lessen the impact of losses, a fund has been established by Grootberg Lodge to compensate farmers for livestock lost to predators. The fund receives its income directly from sightings, earning N$25 every time guests spot predators on an activity.
Thanks to the fund and education efforts lead by Grootberg Lodge, predator numbers are on the increase. Between the beginning of March and the end of April 2013, guests have sighted Lion, Leopard, Caracal, African Wildcat, Cheetah and Spotted Hyena.
Not only has it become necessary to offer financial assistance but also to educate local farmers and community members, young and old, about the importance of conservation. Grootberg Lodge is an integral part of the conservancy’s involvement with tourism and is creating more awareness amongst community members on the importance of protecting their natural habitat and allowing wildlife to ram freely.
We endeavour to continue the education process in the hope that the children from the community will become the next generation conservationists.