Jumbo threat haunts Erongo’s rural people (Namibia)


Adam Hartman, The Namibian

Date Published

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The rural communities of Omizema and Ozondati near Omatjete in the Erongo region fear that if environmental authorities do not intervene, people are going to get killed by elephants roaming the area.

Three houses were destroyed by a herd of between five and 10 elephants over the weekend, Omizema resident Benhard Mauha told The Namibian yesterday.

He said this happened at night when most people were asleep. The small herd came through the settlement looking for food and water, and in the process smashed down the walls of three houses. This included a storehouse in which lucerne was kept, while the other two houses had occupants.

“One young woman was shocked when one minute she was fast asleep, and the next minute an elephant’s head was inside the room where they slept. She could only crawl under her bed, hoping the animal would not break further into the house and kill her and her family,” said Mauha. “Fortunately, no one was injured.”

He thus called on the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to intervene and remove the elephants.

“They need to be taken to Etosha; out of the way of the communities here. If they do not do this, someone will get killed, and there will be a lot more destruction. We cannot afford it,” he stated. “We are scared here.”

In August last year, several elephant herds totaling about 200 animals were moving near already struggling commercial and communal farmers in the drought-stricken Kunene region, not far from the latest incident. It is not just the drought that is aggravating the issue, but also the decrease in land to accommodate both man and beast.

Elephants were also roaming nearer to Uis, where one young bull even walked through the settlement at the end of last year – something unseen by Uis residents for a long time.