Namibian Sun

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  • Tourists visiting the Omatjete area of the Erongo Region have been cautioned to stop filming elephants with drones because the instruments agitate the animals and have them destroy villagers’ houses. 

    Tourists have also been warned to refrain from feeding the elephants with oranges and pumpkins as these tempt them to go around in search of such food.

    Director of Wildlife and National Parks in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), Colgar Sikopo sent out the warning to tourists through Nampa this weekend.

    Sikopo explained that a drone sounds like a swarm of bees to elephants and this terrifies them, adding that when such fear is prolonged, these giants become aggressive towards humans.

    Last week, elephants at Otjitakaneno village in the Otjohorongo Reserve destroyed eight houses.

    Fabianus Hivirikee Uaseuapuani, a senior councillor in the Zeraeua Traditional Authority, which rules Omatjete community, told Nampa that the community feared for their lives. He confirmed that three more houses were damaged Friday evening by elephants at Omisema village in Otjiuapeke area. 

    The authority and the community are calling for immediate action from the MET on the situation.

    He said there is a specific bull that destroyed most houses and he wanted it put down before it killed someone.

    The traditional leader said he called Sikopo and informed him about their fears and hoped the Ministry would act soon.

    “A woman and her child escaped death at the tip of the trunk on Friday night when the elephant invaded their house,” he said.

    Sikopo acknowledged the complaints and said a team of rangers was dispatched to the area to investigate the situation and report back to him for a final decision.

    He said if it is found that the said bull is a problem it will be put down immediately.

    He added that more rangers, some from Swakopmund, were sent to the area to control the elephants by driving them away from the villages.

    “For now we are not sure the bull is the main problem. We need to be sure of that and only then can we put it down,” Sikopo told Nampa.

    He said apart from tourists’ disturbances, elephants come to the villages in search of water and food because Omatjete, which is about 60 km west of Omaruru in the Daures constituency, is dry due to drought.