30 September 2021

by Arlana Shikongo

TWO suspects were arrested at Okahao in the Omusati region on Wednesday after they had been filmed killing a trapped hyena.

This comes after a graphic video was circulated of a group of men attacking and then slitting the throat of a spotted hyena which had been caught in a spring trap.

Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said the two men who were arrested are charged with conspiring to commit a crime, hunting on state land, capturing and killing a wild animal without a permit, and possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence.

The charges are under the Riotous Assemblies Act and Nature Conservation Ordinance.

“We understand the trap was set in the wild at the water pond where animals drink and not at a livestock kraal or near the settlement as we initially thought, to protect lives and property.

“In this case this is considered illegal hunting,” Muyunda said.

He added that traps were found hidden at a water point and shotguns, bullets and spent cartridges were seized in one of the suspects’ traditional huts.

Two dried skins suspected to be of spotted hyenas were also found in the hut.

“This conduct is unacceptable in a country whose wildlife is part of its heritage and where wildlife contributes to tourism growth for social and economic benefit of our people,” Muyunda said.

Namibia has an Animals Protection Act, dating from 1962, and a new animal protection and welfare bill has been drafted, but not yet tabled in parliament.

The draft bill suggests enforcing stricter penalties for acts of animal cruelty and also looks to broaden the definition of “animal” to mean any non-human living creature.