Namibian Sun
October 6, 2017

< https://www.namibiansun.com/news/govt-weighs-in-on-elephant-troubled-omatjete>

Government is deliberating on permanent interventions to stop the loss of
human lives and property caused by elephants in the Omatjete area of the
Erongo Region.

Colgar Sikopo, the director of parks and wildlife management in the
environment ministry gave this assurance on Wednesday in answer to
sentiments expressed by Zeraeua Traditional Authority spokesperson Fabianus
Uaseuapuani.

In a telephone interview with Nampa, Uaseuapuani said the community was
still traumatised because the elephants continue destroying their houses.

?We are very upset because our petition to the ministry was not responded
to so far. We feel ignored, we do not know why the ministry is quiet. This
is a serious matter.?

He said the community does not need any other interventions such as putting
down troublesome animals, but they need them out of the area.

The National Council’s Standing Committee on Habitat held community
meetings in Omatjete and Uis earlier in the week to collect views regarding
the elephants. Parliamentarians will compile a report with recommendations
for submission to cabinet.

This year, the Omatjete community experienced the death of a community
member, and the destruction of houses, boreholes, gardens and fences from
elephants.

About two months ago, they stood up and wrote a petition to the ministry
demanding the elephants be driven away from the area forever.

The animal which killed the man was put down and rangers were deployed to
the area to monitor elephants and keep the community safe.

In reply, Sikopo said the community is not ignored.

Sikopo claimed officials would be sent to Omatjete to respond to their
petition while a formal letter of reply to the petition would also be
prepared.

He, however, emphasised that the ?idea of driving the elephants out of the
area is not practical?.

Sikopo said the ministry understood very well how serious the situation is,
and hence its plans to rectify it.

The ministry is looking at reducing the number of animals through trophy
hunting, fencing off houses that are in the migratory path of elephants.

?Another action we are deliberating on is to get a transformer and provide
electricity to the most affected villages, so that the lights can keep the
elephants away.?

He said the animal which was put down generated about N$100 000. This
money, Sikopo said can buy the transformer or barbed wire for fencing.

?By next week we should be able to finalise some of these plans and decide
which ones will be implemented. The same week we will also write a letter
to the community or go there to respond to their petition.?

https://www.namibiansun.com/news/govt-weighs-in-on-elephant-troubled-omatjete

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This news service is provided by Save the Elephants.