i (Independent – UK)
Namibia has authorised the sale of 28 elephants as the southwestern African country struggles with drought.
The environment ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda said that because of this year’s drought, various animals would be sold to protect grazing areas. It’s hoped that $1.1m will be raised from the sale.
A natural disaster was declared last month, as meteorological services in Namibia estimated that the country had undergone its deadliest drought in as many as 90 years.
“The grazing condition in most of our parks is extremely poor and if we do not reduce the number of animals, this will lead to loss of animals due to starvation,” said Muyunda to The Namibian.
It reported that somewhere between 500 and 600 buffaloes would be sold from Waterberg Plateau Park, while 150 springbok would be sold from the Hardap and Naute game parks.
Proceeds going to conservation
There are 6,400 elephants in the Khaudum National Park, with proceeds from the sale of them going to the government’s Game Products Trust Fund, which will support conservation efforts.
Conservation activists have previously criticised Namibia for its trophy hunting policy, as it permits authorised hunting of wildlife . Twenty per cent of conservancy revenues come from hunting, The Independent reported.
The animals will be sold at an auction and it is hoped that game farmers will purchase them as they will have the resources to care for them.
Dying elephants in Asia
Almost a third of Asian elephants are in captivity in countries like India, Myanmar and Thailand, mainly being used for tourism or labour.
Scientists concluded that population declines could be tackled if the health of baby elephants is prioritised.
Elephants removed from the mother at a young age experience stress which may have a negative impact on survival, a new paper in The Royal Society Publishing said.
The paper explains that mortality is highest in newborn elephants so addressing this process could make a difference in their survival rates.