Napha had no say in elephant hunt

Napha has invited the public to join a discussion slated for next week to share information from reliable sources and to discuss and confer.

10 July 2019 | Local News

The Namibia Professional Hunting Association (Napha) has stated the organisation played no part in the decision making in connection with hunt of a 50-year alpha elephant bull in Namibia that sparked widespread outrage.

In a statement released this week, Napha president Danene van der Westhuyzen said despite contrary information, the organisation as a “stakeholder and not a decision-maker had nothing to do with any decision-making in conjunction with minister Pohamba Shifeta and the Dallas Safari Club on whichever cause”.

Moreover, she said Napha has “no information as to the happenings, decisions or justification of this hunt”.

On 25 June, the elephant bull, known to many fans around the globe as 'Voortrekker' was killed by a trophy hunter after the environment and tourism ministry declared the elephant a problem animal based on alleged complaints of the community in the area of Omatjete.

The ministry later confirmed that a hunter had paid N$120 000 for the permit to kill the elephant, of which N$20 000 went to the Game Product Trust Fund and the rest to the community.

The killing of the elephant, who was dubbed an iconic and significant tourist draw-card, has elicited widespread protests with thousands criticising government's decision to allow the animal to be felled by a hunter.

Napha on Tuesday invited the public to join a discussion slated for next week “to share information from reliable sources, and to holistically and rationally confer and fight for the nature we all want to protect”.

The hunting organisation underlined that the uproar around the death of Voortrekker showed the public's “utmost love and protection of Namibia's wildlife”, as well as a “growing consciousness of the wildlife and habitat loss that the world at large is facing”.

Van der Westhuyzen added that there is however a “general misunderstanding about the role of conservancies as well as protected areas, and a general ignorance ecology overall”.

She said it appears the public “would rather choose the selective protection of individuals at the cost of a species in its entirety”.

She said Napha recognises it is not possible to eradicate all human wildlife conflict but that the conflict has to be managed optimally, as well as recognising that people and wildlife live in an interconnected and dynamic environment.

The Napha statement took aim at “ill-informed and unfounded facts being distributed widely through various social and media platforms”, apportioning blame and creating alarm.

Van der Westhuyzen said hunting promotes a “tendency to want to preserve nature”.

Nevertheless, in several letters of protest addressed the environment ministry, it has been pointed out that instead of declaring the elephant a problem animal, funds would have been easily raised to fix the alleged damage caused by the animal.

In one letter, addressed to the ministry, it is stated “Voortrekker has never endangered the life of any person and in this current year where Namibia is experiencing one of the driest years ever, his only sin was to break a few pipes to get some water to drink. The international community and people like myself would have gladly assisted with a fund to fix whatever damage he has done.”







JANA-MARI SMITH

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