New Era (Namibia)
The ministry of environment has put down another elephant after causing substantial crop damage at Amarika in the Otamanzi constituency of Omusati region.
Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda confirmed yesterday to New Era that the elephant was shot as part of a tactic to mitigate human-wildlife conflict in the area.
Farmers whose crops were damaged by the wild animals will still be compensated in line with the ministry’s offsetting scheme, Muyunda confirmed.
“This is something we are attending to. These are things that mostly occur this time of the year because crops are attracting elephants. We are on full alert to respond to such incidents,” said Muyunda.
Most of those affected by the crop destruction are members of the San community in Amarika who were expecting a bumper harvest due to good rainfall received this season.
Abraham Haukelo, a principal at Amarika Primary School, told New Era the elephants have caused destruction at seven crop fields in the area, a situation that has discouraged the San community members who have worked hard to ensure that they are self-sustainable and not dependent on government’s drought relief.
“We all know the situation of our people. They hardly work in the mahangu fields.
However, this year they were motivated by the good rain. Now their fields are empty as if they never attempted to work due to the elephants. It is a pity,” he said. Haukelo said one of the elephants was injured when community members and environment officials tried to drive it out of the field.
“The officials from the ministry of environment are now in the area trying to drive the elephants away because they appear to be problematic and aggressive because one of them was injured,” explained Haukelo.
He further urged the government to make an effort to assist the affected people with at least fences and poles, since they are not employed and their properties are destroyed.
“We know the government do offset people but they do not include the fences and others. These people are really in need of that because they cannot afford to buy it,” he explained.
The development planner in the Office of the Vice President, Directorate of Marginalised Communities in the Omusati region Senia Endjala said the destruction caused by the elephants was heartbreaking considering the effort made by the local community to work their land. “These people do not rely on handouts, they have land, but what they are lacking is fencing material,” she