Namibia: Elephants Harass Kunene Farmers


Marx Itamalo, Namibian

Date Published
Farmers in the Kunene region are losing thousands of dollars due to infrastructural damage caused by elephants in the area.

The elephants are damaging water facilities such as boreholes and dams, and also kill livestock in some instances.

One of the farmers who has suffered immense losses is Supi Kandongo of the Ombonde village in the Kamanjab constituency of the Kunene region.

Kandongo told The Namibian last weekend that elephants damaged his water pump a few months ago, and as a result he had to sell some cattle for N$45 000 to repair it.

According to him, the elephants from the Mbaatako mountain range always come to farms in the Metropost and Marine areas in search of water.

If the elephants find no water in the dams at farms, they pull down the tanks out of frustration, break the pumps and also damage fences.

“Those beasts are terrorising us. They are not good. If they wanted water and do not find it, they will make sure that they leave trouble behind,” he said, while pointing to the water pump he had just repaired.

He said a friend advised him to always keep water in the dams for the elephants in case they come to drink. But even if they find something to drink, they still do some damage. According to Kandongo, the elephants had also damaged zinc dams in the past, which prompted him and other area farmers to construct concrete dams. Last month, he built a steel enclosure to protect his water pump. “Now they will see. Here, they will not enter, unless they are witches,” he said.

Kandongo told The Namibian that farmers in the area have also lost goats and sheep that were killed by elephants. He said when the elephants came to drink at the dams, they would sometimes toss goats and sheep away from troughs, killing them instantly.

“Last week, one elephant bull killed my five goats which came to drink. I think it was stressed as it stayed at the dam the whole day,” he explained.

Another farmer, Peter Ndjavera, also told The Namibian that his water pump was damaged several times in the past, and that he had also lost small stock to the marauding pachyderms. The two farmers indicated though that despite their elephant troubles, they would continue farming.

“Nothing else you can do here. The beasts belong here, and they are part of us. So, we are used to them,” Ndjavera said, adding that at least the elephants did not cause human casualties yet.