New Era (Namibia)

Elephants wreak havoc in Omusati

21 April 2020

Villagers of Onamwege in the Omakange area of Omusati region have expressed concern over extensive crop damage by elephants. The villagers say they are losing crops to the marauding wild animals since Sunday.
A herd of elephants reportedly destroyed more than 10 mahangu fields on Sunday morning.
An official from the ministry of environment attending to the issue confirmed a herd of about 45 jumbos having caused extensive damage to the crops. According to Suoma Kapadhi, one of the affected villagers who spoke to New Era yesterday morning, the elephants destroyed all their crops and vegetables.
“I only got few watermelons from my field brought to Windhoek last week through someone that came from the village and now all that we worked for is eaten up by elephants,” she said.
“Our people at the village home are terrified because of those elephants. My nuts, beans, other type of vegetables that I use to feed pigs, chicken and even for human consumption were all eaten up, while my fence was destroyed four times.”

Kapadhi further said the elephants spent an entire night uninterrupted in the neighbour’s field.
“We had a bumper harvest but the elephants came and destroyed everything. I am very disturbed by this because I know the offsetting of government is not enough and they have their own criteria they are using to pay people,” she added.
The communal farmer said the crop damage has sent them back to square one similar, to a situation of last year when there was nothing to harvest due to a lack of rainfall.
Another villager who spoke to New Era said he was terrified because the elephants came straight inside his homestead while he was fast asleep.
“When I woke up, I found about six elephants inside my house. The trunk awoke me. I was so traumatised. I think they came inside the house because I had fresh beans, I am sure they were attracted by the beans,” he explained.
Approached for comment, the environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda confirmed that they are fully aware of the destruction caused by the elephants in the area.
Muyunda said the ministry is trying to help the residents to manage the situation since the elephants live around the area.

“The ministry will assist by responding to the report from the community, councillors and traditional leaders, to manage them but not to eradicate them because they live in the conservancy that is around that area,” said Muyunda.
He further explained that the officials manage to drive elephants away from fields and settlements, but there is a challenge because in that area there are mahangu fields everywhere.
“We are trying to manage that, we are trying to identify the problems causing the elephants’ destruction. We will put down one elephant to scare them and farmers will have a relief. The staff are there camping to assist in eliminating the damages,” he said.
Muyunda further said the ministry will however offset the residents for the damage and destruction caused by the elephants.

Loide Jason