Elephant auction at advanced stage

• By Confidente reporter

THE Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) has said that the ongoing elephant auction in Namibia is at an advanced stage with the ministry currently busy capturing 57 elephants that were sold in the auction.

According to a press statement, a total of 37 elephants have already been captured consisting of 15 to remain in Namibia and 22 to be exported to a destination to be announced at the end of the tender process.

“The 15 elephants that remain in Namibia were captured from Omatjete area, Erongo region and already supplied to Naankuse as a successful bidder. The 22 elephants meant for one of the export destinations were captured from Kamanjab commercial farming area in the Kunene region and supplied to GH Odendaal as one of the successful bidders,” the ministry said.

The ministry further detailed that elephants are currently safely kept in a quarantine facility waiting to be exported while family herds were captured for the purpose.

“The remaining 20 is still to be captured pending the issuance of CITES permits from the country where the elephants will be exported, with a signed agreement and full payment. Namibia Wildlife Vets and African Wildlife Vets did all captures with permission from the ministry. We want to deny allegations that there are elephants designated for China.”

According to the ministry’s spokesperson Romeo Muyunda the action is expected to generate N$5.9 million of which N$4.4 million is already paid to the Game Product Trust Fund.

A total of 170 elephants were offered in a tender advertised on December 3 2020 and closed on January 29 2021.

The elephants that were put on auction include 30 from Omatjete area, 50 from Kamanjab commercial farming area, 60 from Grootfontein Kavango cattle ranch area and 30 Grootfontein Tsumkwe area.

“With this auction, we intend to reduce elephant numbers in specified areas to minimise human elephant conflict which has become persistent leading to extensive damage to properties, life losses and a disruption of people’s livelihoods,” Muyunda said.

The funds generated through the auction will be transferred into the Game Product Trust Fund to be reinvested in the conservation and management of wildlife resources and rural development including in community conservancies.

“In particular, the funds will be used for human wildlife conflict management, management of national parks, species conservation, wildlife protection and law enforcement, and Community Based Natural Resources Management and Rural Development,” he added.