Our intention was not to put down the lion – environment ministry

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism says that putting down the lion was not their initial intention, but it had to be done to save the life of Likando Mambena (44).

The lion attacked Mambena in the Chefuzwe area on the outskirts of Katima Mulilo and, as a result, officials shot and killed the lion that was roaming around with a lioness, that escaped and is still at large.

Members of the public have levelled allegations against the ministry on social media, alleging that they acted hastily when they shot the lion and that it is a common occurrence for the ministry to kills stray animals without looking into other solutions.

Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda refuted these allegations during an interview with The Namibian on Thursday, saying that when they were tracing these lions, they intended to capture them alive and take them to the nearest national park.

He added that during the tracing operations by their staff members, they encountered challenges whereby community members followed them around due to curiosity.

“The presence of these lions posed a safety risk to the communities. Furthermore, it attacked a community member, and to save the life of the person, we unfortunately shot the lion. As much as we have upheld the preservation of wildlife, human life is principle,” he said.

He added that these criticisms are unfounded and aimed to tarnish their reputable image in terms of conservation.

“Members of the public may not necessarily be aware of other interventions we put in place to minimise and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts. A number of times we have captured and translocated animals, including lions, from wild-wildlife conflict hotspot areas to safer areas where they won’t cause any damage,” he said, adding that lethal measures are only taken as a last resort.

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