Photos by Werner Kilian and Hans Rack
The Directorate within MET has come a long way from 1907 when the first three game reserves were proclaimed in Namibia. These were referred to as Game Reserves 1,2 and 3. Two of these still exist today - part of the Namib Park and the Etosha National Park.
In 1990, the new government, showed its commitment to the environment by creating the Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism (now the Ministry of Environment and Tourism). The Ministry, however, has increasingly focused on the development of new conservation ideas and management practices. These have sought to link conservation and sustainable development and to improve the quality of life for all Namibians.
Today, the Protected Areas network covers 17% of the country’s surface area and includes such iconic tourists destinations as the Skeleton Coast Park, Etosha National Park and the Namib-Naukluft Park. The DWNP has enormous scope to contribute to the country’s future through conservation, sound management practices and community engagement, including Namibia’s internationally recognized Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme.
Namibia has remarkable species diversity and a high level of endemism. including:
Approximately 4 350 species and subspecies of vascular plants (trees, shrubs, grasses etc.), of which 687 species or 17% are endemic; 644 bird species have been recorded, of which over 90 are endemic to Southern Africa and 13 to Namibia. 217 mammal species are found in Namibia, 26 of which are endemic, including unique desert-dwelling rhino and elephants the world’s largest population of cheetah. About 35% of the roughly 100 000 known Southern African insect species occurs in Namibia; 24% of the insect species are endemic, 11% of spiders, 47% of scorpions and 5% of solifuge species and of 256 species of reptiles, 28% are endemic. This means that the conservation of biodiversity in Namibia does not only have a national but also a global significance. Namibia’s parks are recognised as one of the cornerstones of biodiversity conservation – the conservation of the variety of species of fauna and flora that exists on earth and the maintenance of genetic diversity within these species.
To achieve our mission and continue to contribute to the future of Namibia, the DWNP maintains the following objectives:
Improve and monitor the implementation of Park and wildlife management plans through the collection, analysis and dissemination of biological monitoring data; provide all DWNP staff with the skills they need to carry out their jobs and advance their careers; sustainably manage Namibia’s Protected Areas; manage and regulate the utilization of renewable natural resources on a sustainable basis and to strive for biodiversity conservation, maintenance and restoration; protect and facilitate the sustainable use of biodiversity outside of protected areas (in commercial and communal areas) as a basis for sustainable development; increase revenue earned by MET, as well as other public sector agencies and the private sector through the expansion of tourism and activities that promote the sustainable utilization of natural resources; community Based Natural Resource Management, specifically conservancy formation and management; enhance the effective prevention of wildlife crime, and the enforcement of national wildlife protection legislation in Namibia, in collaboration with other partners; human wildlife conflict management.
Tel: +264 61 284 2518