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Namibia to auction 170 wild elephants amid drought and rising population

Lately its been reported in sensational international media outlets worldwide about my home country Namibia's plans to put up 170 "high value" wild elephants for sale due to drought and an increase in elephant numbers, through the Ministry of Environment & Tourism.

Friends from around the world wrote to me asking me "how my country can sell the elephants?'', but while it is easy to judge from afar one should first familiarise themselves with the situation on the ground.

Namibia's conservation drive has enjoyed international support -- our elephant population has jumped from about 7,500 in 1995 to 24,000 in 2019, according to government figures.

Many rural communities in Namibia live together with wildlife and human and wildlife conflicts are unavoidable at times even though farmers are compensated for damages done by wild animals.

Like several other African nations, Namibia is trying to strike a balance between protecting species like elephants and rhinos, while managing the danger they pose when they encroach on areas of human habitation.

Conservancies, the Ministry of Tourism&Environment and NGOs are continuing to develop innovative ways to avoid conflict and react appropriately following a conflict incident.

Preventing conflicts is one of the central measures.

Innovative techniques have been developed to keep elephants away from crops by using chilli as a deterrent.

Other practical efforts to reduce conflicts include crocodile fences to provide safe access to water, predator secure enclosures for keeping livestock safe at night, and appropriate physical barriers to protect water infrastructure from elephants.

Namibia has a proud conservation record, which is recognised internationally.

This reputation rests partly on conservation outside parks and reserves on freehold and communal land. It rests on the country's commitment to the conservation of biological diversity(biodiversity) through the establishment and management of Protected Areas.

The country's commitment to biodiversity conservation is reflected in the Constitution. Article 95 (1) provides the foundation for the formulation of policies, legislation and programmes aimed at safeguarding the country's biodiversity and ecosystems for the benifit of current and future generations.

Every year many tourists visit my beautiful Namibia to see the Big Five and many more animals that are protected in the country.

Namibia also has the biggest Cheetah population in the world and many National Parks.

But let me get back to the Elephants up for sale...

The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism said it would auction off the elephants to anyone in Namibia or abroad who could meet certain strict criteria, which include quarantine facilities and a game-proof fence certificate for the property where the elephants will be kept. Foreign buyers must also provide proof that conservation authorities in their countries will permit them to export elephants to their countries. So the sales of the elephants is all for a good course!!

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