Community Involvement

© Martin Rickleton
Community members in Iona National Park

Assuming the management of any park always presents the challenge of working with the local communities. In Iona, the two primary groups are Himba people living within the park and other communities living on the periphery of the park. There are an estimated 5,000 people living in or on the park boundaries.

While agricultural activities have not encroached on the park, animal species are threatened by the presence of livestock which overgraze the fragile vegetation, pushing wildlife into the fringes of the park. Working closely with people in the communities will be essential in maintaining the functional integrity of the park.

There is also evidence of anti-predator activity in the park, probably due to historical human-wildlife conflict in the form of livestock predation. It is a priority of park management to work with the community to find ways to mitigate this conflict and therefore allow the predator populations to increase.