29 July 2011

Namibia: Four Arrested for Yellow Blesbok Hunt

FOUR men got N$1 000 bail on a charge of illegal hunting of a rare and expensive yellow blesbok ram on their neighbour's farm at Driedoring between Kalkrand and Mariental.

The owner of Driedoring, Ernst Simon, caught the four on his farm with the yellow blesbok and .223 calibre hunting rifle at around 11h00 on Sunday morning, and alerted the Police and nature conservation office at Mariental.

The accused, Adam and Nicodemus Kuhlman, Saddam Hanan and Paul Andrew Swartbooi from the adjacent farm Heldersig, were arrested later in the day, and appeared in court on Monday.

Simon said he bought the yellow blesbok ram in Windhoek last Friday for N$40 000 to start a breeding programme.

What makes the yellow blesbok so special is that it is genetically produced through an inbreeding programme from blesbok, whose normal habitat is Namibia and South Africa.

With dwindling numbers, Simon intended to start the breeding programme on his farm, but his plans were dashed by the illegal hunt.

"This puts me in a very difficult position because the borders have been closed due to foot-and-mouth disease. There is nothing left to buy in Namibia," said an irate Simon.

Wildlife warden Elton Guruseb said no more arrests were expected in this case.

He said illegal hunting on resettlement farms in the Hardap Region has increased since the end of last year.

This year alone, there have been five incidents of illegal hunting of game on different resettlement farms.

Resettlement farmers may not own game on such farms, but can utilise game for own use only with permission from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, and a permit from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

The case was postponed to August 24.

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