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Several concerned Namibians, in particular farmers from the Hochfeld and Omitara areas, have expressed their worry that two elephants, which have been observed in the areas for several weeks now, are being advertised as possible hunting targets, despite no MET hunting permits having been issued yet.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has kept a close eye on the elephants for the past few weeks, and has said that so far, no actions on their part has warranted them being declared as problem animals. Today, Colgar Sikopo, head of the Directorate of Regional Services and Parks Management at MET once again confirmed that he is not aware of any permits being issued.
Today, the Namibian Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) released a press statement in response to the current situation.
The statement read that Napha hopes that the elephants will “return peacefully to their last stretches of intact habitat in the northeast, before the dry season starts. Let us hope that the damage they do, remains negligible and let us pray that no human lives will be endangered”.
The statement furthermore requested Napha members directly “to try avoiding shooting these elephants”.
Despite the official stance of the MET, a well-known hunter has sent an email to potential clients this week, asking if they would be interested in a trophy hunt on the elephants once they are declared as problem animals.
As a result, concerns have been raised about the hunter’s timing of the offer, especially since the MET has yet to declare it a problem animal.
Sikopo yesterday told the media that MET has not yet issued a permit. He said that should the elephants cause damage to such an extent that farmers become deeply concerned, then the Ministry will look at capturing the elephants rather than issuing a hunting permit.
He said that if the elephants do not move out of the area on their own free will, or they cannot be captured, only then will the Ministry consider declaring them as a problem animal.
MET’s Public Relations officer, Romeo Muyanda, yesterday confirmed that while several farms have applied for a hunting permit this “is not ideal for the Ministry at the moment”.
He said the Ministry continuous to closely monitor the animals.