Namibia: Govt Accused of Choosing Elephants Over Human Life

(file photo).

A MAN who reportedly survived an elephant attack earlier this month in the Kunene region is accusing the environment ministry of formulating policies that favour and protect wild animals over human beings.

Kaehepere Uarije (42) yesterday told Nampa in an interview at Outjo that because of this, he has lost trust in the ministry.

He said he made numerous attempts to claim compensation for his vehicle that was badly damaged by a skittish elephant that had a calf.

The man said that on 19 October 2019, he and his 22-year-old nephew were attacked by the elephant while they were travelling in a GWM pickup from a family farm to Makaria village.

Makaria is situated over 120 kilometres south of Outjo in the Kunene region.

Uarije said the attack occurred around 08h00 that Saturday.

"I spotted the elephant and its calf at a very short distance in the mountains. The elephant saw us first and in a short time it was running towards us, smashing the windscreen of my car, pushing and pulling it for nearly 15 minutes," he related.

Uarije said he and his nephew did not sustain serious injuries in the attack, but were in severe shock.

"During the attack, we locked all [our] car doors and windows and ducked near the car pedals to take cover. My car was terribly damaged and even failed to start afterwards, and we had to abandon it there."

Officials of the ministry at Khorixas were informed about the incident and visited the scene.

The ministry's spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, yesterday confirmed that they had received information of the incident which was attended to by his colleagues.

"We were there at the scene and we found the two victims and the elephant already gone," he said.

Muyunda added that his ministry did not declare the elephant and its calf as problematic, as this is normally how an adult elephant would act in defence of its offspring.

He also said his ministry does not compensate damages to mobile property, such as vehicles, when they are involved in a situation with a wild animal on the roads.

"It is like telling us to compensate in a situation where a vehicle hits a kudu on the road. Therefore, all I can say is, it is unfortunate that this situation happened," Muyunda said.

- Nampa

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