Written by: CJ Carrington for the Conservation Action Trust
Concerns have been heightened by the Namibian Ministy of Environment and Tourism’s (MET) decision to issue additional hunting permits for some of the most unique elephants in the world.
The Ministry had previously stated that only two hunting licences had been issued and seems unconcerned with the revelation of advertisements for the permits of up to six desert elephants. This week, the Ministry admitted to the issuing of nine permits in total, seven more than had been initially indicated.
Romeo Muyunda, Spokesperson for MET, referred to the official press release, stating that: “The two allocated elephants indicated in the press release are for own use as this was the concern raised in the circulating article. Seven others (which includes Erongo and Kunene regions) are for trophy hunting.’’
“Although I am not surprised by this statement, I am outraged at their arrogance and refusal to consider other offers. They are now suddenly admitting to seven trophy hunts as well as two consumptive use permits, but the fact that they insist on allowing it, is beyond my comprehension. It will be devastating to the desert elephant family herds to absorb such unnecessary carnage. Absolutely the only benefit from any of this, would be the public attention received,” said Anton Louw from Live Trophy.
Well-known conservationist Garth Owen-Smith has publically voiced his concern over the lack of control that the MET would have over where exactly these elephants would be shot. In the meantime, the first of the desert elephants named Delta, has already been shot in Sorris-Sorris, well-known as a preferred elephant route, and close to a school.
Despite international public opinion against the hunting of these elephants, certain conservationists are attempting to justify this by quoting economic benefit of own-use for the affected communities. These arguments have been questioned by the local people, who feel that they have received no benefit from Delta, the first elephant to be sacrificed. The previous co-ordinator of the Conservancy Committee, Jorgen Namaseb, said that the area is big and there are so many people, that they couldn’t possibly benefit from a few elephants. He claimed “he saw that a little bit of meat had been delivered to his office”.
The shooting of Delta made front-page news in Die Republikein, a Namibian daily. The article states that members of the communities, who had not benefitted from the slaughter, claim that what happened to the elephant was a mistake, and highlighted the fact that they had been living with this specific herd without incident for quite some time.
Both the current co-ordinator of the committee who wishes to remain anonymous and Nick Nolte, the operator who hunted the first elephant, refused to comment.
It is unclear to which hunting outfitters the additional permits have been issued.
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