MET responds to elephant killing

12 Sep 2017 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 12 SEP (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has shot down claims that its approval for the killing of three elephants in north-western Namibia will lead to the extinction of elephants.
Responding to recent reports in the local media and letters to MET that suggest elephants could become extinct, the ministry said two elephants are to be killed as part of the 2017 game utilisation quota for the Ohungu and Otjimboyo conservancies, while the third elephant was declared a problem animal in the Sorris Sorris Conservancy.
The ministry said in a media statement issued on Monday that these elephants are not at risk of extinction at all, and that their numbers have increased in at least half a century; aerial surveys estimated the elephant population in Namibia at just over 22 000 currently.
It said the three elephants are being dealt with in accordance with Namibia’s Community-Based Natural Resource Management Programme, which has been widely recognised as a successful people-oriented approach to conservation.
“Making them available to be hunted is, however, the preferred strategy, as at least some revenue can be generated in the process for the relevant communities,” reads the statement.
The ministry added that Namibia has become a leader in nature conservation.
“We have restored the link between conservation and rural development by enabling communal areas’ farmers to derive a direct income from the sustainable use of wildlife and tourism activities.”
It also clarified that those are not ‘desert elephants’ as so described by those against their killing.
“All our elephants are African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and not desert elephants.”
MET further revealed that an increase in the elephant population and range expansion has contributed to human/wildlife conflict in Namibia, especially in the Kunene and Erongo regions.
In 2016, over 5 000 cases of human/wildlife cases were reported to the ministry.