Environment ministry wants elephant quotas increased
The environment ministry is planning to apply for increment in quotas for elephant sales from 99 to 200 per annum, minister Pohamba Shifeta told The Villager.
The ministry is also planning to increase the quotas for own consumption by persons living within the conservancy areas.
The growing elephant population in communal conservancies is due to proper management and ousting of poachers on protected species, the minister has told The Villager.
“We are aware of the fact that elephants do get out of hand sometimes and destroy gardens on communal conservancy areas and water points but there is nothing we can do about it. It is their home and there is no place we can take them. The only thing that can help this situation is to apply a new license from the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),” Shifeta said.
Shifeta said elephants and rhinos cannot be sold or put down because of the destruction they are causing to human property without following rules and regulations that have been put in place by the United Nations.
Currently only Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana are allowed to auction; trophy hunt and to put down elephants for own consumption within the conservancy areas because of good conservation and efforts by these countries’ governments to preserve the beasts.
“These are protected species and we cannot just do whatever we want because these animals are in their areas. It is because of drought that elephants occasionally destroy gardens and water points. It is not because they want to. They are where they belong and as animals they a roaming freely and do not know what is wrong and what is right,” he said.
He added that the ministry is satisfied with the increment in the elephant population as it will help preserve protected species for generations to come.
The elephant population has increased from 7000 in the late 90s to more than 23 000 to date.
“More elephants are in the Kunene region, followed by Zambezi and Kavango East and West regions but it is a norm that these beasts travel everywhere they want to and sometime it is because of food and because of their nature,” Shifeta said.
He added that it is very sad to see elephants destroying what farmers are planting to make a living from, whether it is for consumption or for income purposes.