Extinction looms

Namibia's wild horse population has plummeted from around 300 to a mere 80 horses since 2013.

21 November 2018 | Environment

The environment ministry has been urged to take immediate action before Namibia's entire population of wild horses is decimated.

The number of wild horses of the Namib has plummeted from around 300 to a mere 80 horses since 2013.

According to a statement by the Namibia Wild Horses Foundation, the past five years has been extremely harsh for the wild horses, with severe drought and predation by a pack of spotted hyaenas that had moved into the area decimating their numbers.

“The lives of the horses are still in danger,” the foundation said.

According to biologist Dr Telané Greyling, who has studied the wild horses for more than 20 years, and who works closely with the foundation, not a single foal has survived since 2012, making the youngest horse six years old.

“In 2013 alone, the hyaenas killed about a 100 horses, of which 50 were foals,” she said.

The long-awaited rainfall this year brought new hope and allowed the foundation to stop feeding the horses after 27 months of drought, in which the public generously donated both feed and funds to keep the horses alive.

According to the foundation, the pack of hyaenas also moved onto adjacent farmland, leaving the horses in peace. The first foals were born and it started to look as if the wild horses finally stood a chance.

“Unfortunately, the respite was short-lived. The hyaenas returned with a vengeance, killing three of the four foals born since September, once again threatening the century-old population.”

According to the foundation, tracks and drag marks were found leading to the hyaena den over the weekend - a clear indication that the last foal had been taken by the hyaenas.

“The pack will now, once again, predate on the adult horses, targeting mainly the mares until not a single one is left.”

The foundation says it strongly believes the horses are teetering on the brink of extinction. It says even with the last good rains, there is no chance of foals surviving, as long as the hyaenas are around. It added the hyaenas have already resumed targeting the adult horses.

“The population is already depleted, with only 33 mares remaining and the genetic integrity of the population is at risk.”

According to foundation chairman Mannfred Goldbeck, they are waiting anxiously for the environment ministry to respond to their request regarding the custodianship of the horses.

“We need to implement measures urgently to safeguard their future. We have been trying for several years to engage with the ministry, without success. The situation is now an emergency. We urge the ministry to commit to a plan of action so that we can save the remaining population.”

The foundation has been in dialogue with the ministry since 2015.

“The ministry has been reluctant to manage the hyaenas, as it has a non-interference policy regarding the wildlife in national parks, yet it wants the horses to remain in the Namib Naukluft Park, where without intervention their future is certainly doomed,” the foundation said.

It said the ministry is also unwilling to grant the foundation custodianship of the horses, which would enable it to find suitable land elsewhere and relocate the horses to ensure their survival.

“This unwillingness to manage the situation or to pass on custodianship means certain death for the population.”

According to the foundation it desperately wants to help the horses, but their hands are tied, unless the ministry grants them custodianship.

The wild horses of the Namib are among the top ten tourist attractions in Namibia. They have been the subject of numerous documentary films and are used to promote Namibia as a popular tourist destination. They are an important part of Namibia's history and heritage. The loss of this population will do untold damage to brand Namibia.

“If the ministry does not act, the world will look askance at Namibians, who let their population of wild horses die on their watch, when simple solutions were readily available. The future of the wild horses is in your hands and time is fast running out. The clock is ticking. The situation is critical. The Namibian wild horses are on the brink of extinction.”

ELLANIE SMIT

Similar News

 

Ministry opts for cheaper Etosha fence

1 day - 12 December 2018 | Environment

The environment ministry has started reviewing the design of a predator- and elephant-proof fence around Etosha National Park to reduce the cost of construction. ...

Illegal sand mining continues

1 week ago - 06 December 2018 | Environment

Many young men are making a living at Rundu by charging as little as N$50 to fill up a bakkie with sand.A number of young...

Year of environmental tipping points

1 week ago - 05 December 2018 | Environment

JANA-MARI SMITH The Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE) says 2018 has led to significant shifts in awareness on a number of issues in Namibia, including...

Risky fuelling at sea condemned

1 week ago - 03 December 2018 | Environment

Red flags have been raised after the works and transport ministry gave the green light for a fuelling operation at sea which took place close...

Poachers will 'kill every single rhino'

1 week ago - 03 December 2018 | Environment

If rhino owners are not allowed to harvest and legally sell horns, poachers will kill every last rhino in Namibia. This is according to environment...

Tree harvesters up in arms

2 weeks ago - 29 November 2018 | Environment

Kavango East farmers, who have been affected by a recent directive halting all logging with immediate effect, have hit back by asking whether the government...

Shifeta cracks the whip

2 weeks ago - 29 November 2018 | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta says all invalid licences, permits or authorisations granted without an environmental clearance certificate (ECC) must be withdrawn by 1 December.Shifeta said...

Timber harvesting stopped

2 weeks ago - 28 November 2018 | Environment

The forestry directorate of the ministry of agriculture, water and forestry has officially ordered the suspension of the harvesting and trading in Namibia's timber. ...

Shifeta calls out NWR

2 weeks ago - 28 November 2018 | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has given a directive that by the end of this year, the ministry must ensure that no illegal dumping sites exist...

War declared on plastic bags

2 weeks ago - 28 November 2018 | Environment

The environment ministry will step up efforts to enforce the ban on plastic bags in national parks in the coming months.Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has...

Latest News

Cops heavily in debt

10 hours ago | Police

The police chief, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, yesterday gave President Hage Geingob a frank overview of the tragic state of affairs in the force.According to him...

Iilonga hailed as steadfast, courageous

10 hours ago | People

Tributes are pouring in for struggle veteran Petrus Iilonga, who died on Tuesday evening at the age of 71.Iilonga was a former trade unionist and...

Another tough half-year for Nictus

10 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – The recession continued eroding the profit of Nictus Holdings in the first six months of its current financial year, but its impact...

Our big-spending defence ministry

10 hours ago | Columns

Recent calls by parliamentarians in the National Council to increase the defence budget make for interesting reading. Onesi constituency councillor Titus Kanyele recently suggested more...

At your fingertips

10 hours ago | Technology

Yolanda Nel - After a break-in at her home three years ago, an entrepreneur decided to develop an app that provides emergency contact numbers at...

B1 crash claims three

10 hours ago | Accidents

Three men died on the Okahandja-Otjiwarongo road yesterday morning when their vehicles collided after one of the cars had crashed into a cow standing in...

Namvet to play politics

10 hours ago | Politics

The Namibia War Veterans Trust (Namvet) says it is considering entering the political fray by participating in the 2019 national elections after all attempts to...

Communities in dire need of...

10 hours ago | Disasters

Several areas have been identified as “hot spots” where communities are suffering from chronic water shortages and emergency water assistance is required. Agriculture...

Africa Briefs

10 hours ago | Economics

Tanzania to sign deal for power plantTanzania will sign a deal this week for the construction of a US$3 billion hydroelectric power plant, president John...

Load More