18 April 2012

Namibia: Elephants Cause Havoc in Dâures

Photo: The Namibian
Namibia Elephant

Windhoek — A traditional councillor in Otjikakaneno in the Dâures Constituency estimates that there are as many as 70 wild elephants roaming the area, damaging property and scaring people away.

Hivirikee Uaseuapuani, Traditional Councillor of the Zeraeua Traditional Authority, says people live in constant fear of the beasts that last week destroyed a kraal at one homestead during the night.

He said no person or domesticated animal was injured in the process, although some few years ago, the elephants fatally wounded a resident of the area.

"We don't rest here. They come at night, destroy our property and chase our animals away," he added, saying the elephants have at times chased after people.

Uaseuapuani says he suspects that the animals are coming from the Kunene Region, especially from the Khorixas area where they roam freely as there are no fences.

He says people compete with elephants for water as the wild animals frequent the water points and destroy water pipes and taps.

The councillor says a recent visit to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to complain about the problem has not bore any fruits as there was apparently nothing the ministry could do except to dig boreholes.

Approached for comment, Dâures Constituency Councillor in the Erongo Region, Ernst Katjiku, said there could actually be more than the estimated 70 elephants in the area.

He said they are compiling resolutions they came up with after they met the environment minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on the elephant issue.

The resolutions include sinking more boreholes to divert elephants away from homesteads, to put permanent rangers in zones where elephants are present, to review policy on the human-versus-wildlife conflict reimbursement scheme that needs to be increased and to increase funeral cover should a human be killed by a wild animal.

Beginning April, a trophy hunter killed a problematic elephant that was causing fear among residents of Ozondati and destroying property.

Nandi-Ndaitwah is said to have confirmed that two boreholes would be completed by June this year, in addition to sending rotating staff before an office is opened in the area by June.

She reportedly also said the ministry would look at the possibility of increasing quotas to conservancies to shoot elephants.

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