Govt eyes N$13m from elephant auction

The ministry advertised the 170 elephants for sale last December. It said the sale was in response to an increase in the elephant population, which had led to conflict with local communities.

03 March 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

The environment ministry wants to generate at least N$13 million from the sale of 170 elephants - for which it has received five bids - mostly from Namibian and South African buyers.

Speaking to Namibian Sun yesterday, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta insisted that there is nothing secretive about the bidding process, however admitting that it is “sensitive”.

The ministry is still negotiating with bidders on the sale of the elephants, he said further explaining that a minimum bid per animal was agreed upon to dispose the identified herds.

Shifeta said they would only sell at a lower price if any of the elephants remained unsold.

Blind bidding

The minimum bid has not been disclosed.

“The problem of announcing bidding amounts for every bidder is also that some bidders may have put up an amount double than the minimum, which will demoralise others.”

He said that could result in them withdrawing their bids, as a contract of sale was not yet in place.

“Even if we do have a bidding contract in place, you cannot force someone to buy if he tells you some problems came up with the permits and no retaining deposit is paid. We have experienced that in the past.”

According to Shifeta, 95% of the bidders are Namibian and some are from South Africa.

Shifeta added that due to the mounting opposition to the sale, the ministry has been careful not to disclose the identity of the bidders because of safety concerns.

Outrage

The ministry advertised the 170 elephants for sale at the beginning of December last year. It said the sale was in response to an increase in the elephant population, which had led to conflict with local communities.

The sale sparked widespread opposition, with online petitions calling for it to be cancelled and conservationists speaking up against it.

The elephants for sale are from the Omatjetje area (30), the Kamanjab commercial farming area (50), the Grootfontein-Kavango cattle ranch area (60) and the Grootfontein-Tsumkwe area (30).

The ministry said it would sell the animals to anyone in Namibia or abroad who met the criteria, which included quarantine facilities and a game-proof fence certificate for the property where the elephants would be kept.

International media reports have alleged that the sale is linked to corruption and that Namibia is covering up its true elephant population figures.

The environment ministry has dismissed these concerns as baseless and misleading.

The ministry said proceeds from the auction will be deposited into the Game Products Trust Fund for use in conservation and rural development projects.

Namibia’s elephant population is estimated at around 24 000.

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