‘Problem’ elephant put down

The elephant, believed to be from the Groootfontein/Mangetti area, inflicted damage to farm and park fences, and was ultimately put down.

27 April 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

A rogue elephant which caused a threat to the livestock industry has been trophy hunted. The animal was put down on Sunday.

This after the environment ministry last week declared it as a problem-causing elephant since it was observed on farms between Otjiwarongo and Otavi from 9 April.

According to ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda, officials have been monitoring the movement of the elephant over the past two weeks until it entered the Waterberg Plateau Park on 21 April.

The elephant caused damage to property including fences on the farms it traversed through. It also caused damage to the fence of the park. This was, however, immediately repaired.

The park has about 1 000 buffaloes and other valuable species.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the ministry decided to put down the elephant because its continuous presence in the Waterberg Plateau Park constitutes great risk.”

Rather safe than sorry

Myunda said should the elephant have broken the fence and buffaloes escaped, it would lead to the restriction of movement of cloven-hoofed animals and their products from the area.

“These restrictions will result in economic hardships as all livestock-related economic activities in the country could possibly come to a standstill for months.”

He said after the decision had been taken, the elephant had wandered off towards neighbouring farms from the park and was later spotted moving back into the direction of the park.

The proceeds of the trophy hunt will be paid to the affected farmers and the Game Products Trust Fund.

“The ministry does not take pleasure in declaring any animal as problem-causing, neither does it take such decision for monetary gain. Unfortunately, the situation is beyond our control and, as such a management decision has to be taken,” Muyunda said.

Keeping an eye

Meanwhile, the ministry is also monitoring two other elephants in the Otavi/Grootfontein area which have not caused major damages yet.

The ministry is looking at the possibility of capturing and translocating these animals to a national park or another appropriate area where they will not cause conflict with people.

It suspects that all three elephants are from the Groootfontein/Mangetti area.

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