7 September 2017

Namibia: NGOs Cry Foul Over Licensing to Kill Desert Elephants

TWO non-governmental organisations have accused government of indiscriminately issuing licences for desert elephants to be shot.

Desert Elephants and Friends, a non-governmental organisation, said the Ministry of Environment and Tourism did not consider alternatives before issuing hunting permits for three problem desert elephants to be shot.

Another NGO, the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation, in a separate statement, said the ministry should at least produce the problem animal's rap sheet showing its destructive record before issuing a licence for it to be killed.

"The ministry has not responded to any of our queries for the rap sheet of a problem elephant," said Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation in its statement.

"It will just be shot," reads the online petition by Desert Elephants and Friends, another non-governmental organisation that claims to fight for the preservation of these elephants.

The petition also asks for the elephants to be declared a national treasure.

It is estimated that only five big resident bulls remain in the Ugab region, two being prime breeding bulls between 30 and 45 years old and three mature breeding bulls between 25 and 30 years of age.

Among these, the magnificent 'Voortrekker' could be one of the two trophies to be culled.

The government, according to the statement, has been and is still granting hunting permits for elephants despite a public outcry and the obvious questionability of killing elephants for sport from already low and declining populations.

Chief public relations officer at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Romeo Muyunda, said he was not aware of the exact calculations by these organisations but told Nampa on Monday that the destruction of animals is the last option to be considered.

"We only kill when the animal puts human lives and property in danger," he said.

Muyunda claimed there were some international organisations that are against Namibia's trophy hunting methods, adding that human-wildlife conflict management is a national policy and there is no way the ministry will overlook it.

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