Helicopter or army vehicle needed for elephant hunt

22 Dec 2013 19:00pm
OPUWO, 22 DEC (NAMPA) - Officials of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) who are hunting a problem elephant in the Kunene Region said they need a helicopter or Casspir military vehicle to go into the elephants' danger areas
The Chairperson of the Okongoro conservancy, Zahungama Mujenda told Nampa on Sunday that the small vehicles which the MET officials have not been able to access the areas where the elephants are. It has been more than a week since the search for the elusive elephants commenced.
“The area of Okatumba village is bushy and mountainous. It is very rough terrain and the small MET vehicles that we’ve been using so far are constantly suffering punctures,” said Mujenda.
The small vehicles are also not safe for the officials to go with to the areas that are frequented by elephants because the animals can easily storm the cars and cause damages to the people in them.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga who is in the Kunene Region, confirmed to Nampa on Sunday that he was informed about the need for a helicopter or a military vehicle to successfully hunt and kill the problem elephant.
“The issue was raised on Friday and two Land Cruisers were to be brought to the Kunene Region. But there was a misunderstanding and the vehicles will only come here on Monday,” said Herunga.
He added that he would first have to exhaust the options and resources in his ministry before he would go to the extent of asking for a military vehicle or a helicopter.
“We have four-wheel trucks in our Ministry and one will also be brought here with the two Land Cruisers to the scene and only if they can still not reach the area in question, then I will request help from other ministries,” said Herunga.
The minister told Nampa that the vehicles will come from Okaukuejo in the Etosha National Park to they will be brought here to assist with the search.
The aggressive elephant bull, which is being hunted down, killed a 64-year-old man at Okatumba village just south of Opuwo in the Kunene Region a week ago.
Officials of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism are leading the hunt and they are joined by a group of angry people, mainly from Okatumba village.
The hunt for the elephant was initiated last Friday after the community discovered the remains of the man who has since been identified as Paulus Tjiurua. The elephant had inflicted fatal injuries all over his body.
The elephant, which is being hunted, is suspected to be the same animal that last year injured a man just two kilometres away from the place where it is said to have killed Tjiurua.
The injured man was hospitalised at the Oshakati State Hospital. Both of his arms were broken, but he survived.