Govt considering serious interventions in elephant-troubled Omatjete

05 Oct 2017 07:20am
SWAKOPMUND, 05 OCT (NAMPA) - Government is deliberating on permanent interventions to stop the loss of human lives and property caused by elephants in the Omatjete area of the Erongo Region.
Director of Parks and Wildlife Management in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), Colgar Sikopo gave this assurance Wednesday in answer to sentiments expressed by Zeraeua Traditional Authority spokesperson Fabianus Uaseuapuan.
In a telephone interview with Nampa also on Wednesday, Uaseuapuani said the community was still traumatised because the elephants continue destroying their houses.
“We are very upset because our petition (to MET) was not responded to so far. We feel ignored, we do not know why the ministry is quiet, this is a serious matter.”
He said the community does not need any other interventions such as putting down troublesome animals, but they need them out of the area.
The National Council’s Standing Committee on Habitat held community meetings in Omatjete and Uis on Monday and Tuesday to collect views regarding the elephants. Parliamentarians will compile a report with recommendations for submission to Cabinet.
This year, Omatjete community experienced the death of a community member, and the destruction of houses, boreholes, gardens and fences from elephants.
About two months ago, they stood up and wrote a petition to MET demanding the elephants be driven away from the area forever.
The animal which killed the man was put down and rangers were deployed to the area to monitor elephants and keep the community safe.
In reply, Sikopo said the community is not ignored.
Sikopo claimed officials would be sent to Omatjete to respond to their petition while a formal letter of reply to the petition would also be prepared.
He however, emphasised that the “idea of driving the elephants out of the area is not practical.”
Sikopo said the ministry understood very well how serious the situation is, and hence its plans to rectify it.
The ministry is looking at reducing the number of animals through trophy hunting, fencing off houses that are in the migratory path of elephants.
“Another action we are deliberating on is to get a transformer and provide electricity to the most affected villages, so that the lights can keep the elephants away.”
He said the animal which was put down generated about N.dollars 100 000. This money, Sikopo said can buy the transformer or barbed wire for fencing.
“By next week we should be able to finalise some of these plans and decide which ones will be implemented. The same week we will also write a letter to the community or go there to respond to their petition.”