A traditional leader from Namibia’s Caprivi region who has travelled the world sharing his innovative approach to conservation and development, Chief Mayuni has been described as a leader, a visionary and a motivator. A tireless champion for conservation and community development, Chief Mayuni is a Conservation Hero.
The Chief was one of the first to realize that tourism was the key to conservation and the recovery of wildlife numbers in the Caprivi, after years of war and poaching. By negotiating joint venture agreements with lodges he helped to increase employment in the area and to secure the funds needed for conservancy game guards.
As a result, poaching was radically reduced and wildlife numbers recovered, but that brought problems. Elephants trample and eat crops. Predators take livestock. Tourism provides jobs, but that doesn’t help the farmers. Chief Mayuni’s response was to negotiate a compensation scheme with one of his lodge operators, so if a lion took a cow, the lodges would pay compensation. It became the forerunner of a nation-wide scheme that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has embraced where communities are encouraged to use their income to pay those farmers that have suffered at the hands of wildlife.
As an advocate for conservation, community development and its links to tourism, Chief Mayuni participated in the 2011 Adventure Travel World Summit. In 2007, the Namibia Nature Foundation named Chief Mayuni their Environmentalist of the Decade.
Find out more about how tourism is helping to preserve wildlife in Namibia in the video below.