Cape fur seal, Cape Cross, Namibia

Namibia’s annual seal hunt is set to begin on Sunday, amid an outcry from conservation groups.



The target this year is to club 80,000 pups and 6,000 bulls by the time the hunt ends in November.

Namibian authorities say the cull is necessary because of a burgeoning and unsustainable seal population which threatens the fishing industry.

But campaigners say the hunts are carried out for commercial gain, as the seals’ fur and fat is sold on.

Namibia’s seal hunt is reported to be the world’s second largest, after Canada’s notorious annual cull of its seal population.

It takes place in two reserves where the seals are rounded up on the beach and hit on the head with spiked wooden clubs.

The carcasses are processed in the factories of seven commercial licence holders, which harvest the seals for their pelts, fat and male sexual organs, which are believed to have aphrodisiac properties in some parts of the world.

Seal product ban
“Namibia’s seal population has increased to the point where they exceeded by far the carrying capacity of the environment,” the government said in a statement.

“Therefore it is humane to curb the unrestrained seal population to a level where they can be sustained by the environment.”

Jason Bell, director for Southern Africa at conservation charity International Fund for Animal Welfare, told the AFP news agency: “There is no justification for the killing. This is purely a political and economic issue, with very little concern for animal welfare.”  Read more…