The Namibian

Elephant herd causes panic


by Arlana Shikongo

JUMBO REST … Two elephant bulls at a waterhole in the Etosha National Park. Photo: Nampa

THE Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism on Sunday drove 40 elephants from the Omuntele area of the Oshikoto region into the Etosha National Park.

This after receiving calls from terrified community members about the large herd.

This was confirmed by ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda.

“The community raised concerns, including the councillor, and they were reported to us. Based on this, we had to drive the elephants back to the park.

“Our staff members were there on Sunday chasing them back, and it was a success. The elephants are back in the park,” he says.

Muyunda says the specific elephants are not problem animals, and were probably trying to find a route to travel to Angola, where they usually migrate to during this time.

“It looks like the elephants were moving in corridors. They moved very carefully around people’s property,” he says.

He says no crops in the area or property were damaged in the process.

A donkey was, however, killed during the herding back to Etosha.

“One of the elephants got upset and attacked and killed a donkey,” he says.

Muyunda says the incident will be treated as a human-wildlife conflict case, which will allow the human-wildlife self-reliance scheme to be effected.

This will permit payment to be made to the owner of the donkey.

Muyunda says the reporting of such incidents is of great assistance to the ministry as it allows such situations to be dealt with amicably.

He cautions against people who try to get close to the animals.

“There are people risking their lives unnecessarily by getting close to these animals. Some want to take pictures or selfies,” he says.

“People shouldn’t do this, because elephants can be dangerous. We really discourage it.”