Namibia: Jumbo Menace Hits Otjombinde


The Namibian

Date Published

Elephants, believed to have crossed into Namibia from neighbouring Botswana, have been wreaking havoc in villages adjacent to the border fence in the Omaheke Region’s Otjombinde Constituency.

Villagers told Nampa that the elephants, estimated to be about five, have destroyed vital water infrastructure and a village, while they also destroyed vast crop fields in another village.

Although there have not been any reports of physical harm to humans in the constituency, villagers fear that it is only a matter of time before the elephants which are suspected to have crossed into Namibia a week ago, become aggressive and attack humans.

Kapanda Marenga, who farms at Okomukaru village located along the Namibia-Botswana border fence, said he had suffered insurmountable damage to his crop fields and will find it hard to recoup the loss before the winter season.

“We planted some crops hoping that our livestock would have silage during winter, but all these crops were trampled on by the elephants. We have literary nothing left to help us through the coming dry season,” he said.

Marenga said the elephants also destroyed the engine which pumps water to a local watering point for both livestock and humans, by uprooting it from its base.

The damage to the crops comes at a time when the Omaheke Region is slowly recovering from one of the worst droughts in recent memory.

The villagers have urged the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to drive the jumbos back into Botswana.

But the Chief Warden at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Kasongo Buchane has ruled out such a possibility at present.

Speaking to Nampa on Wednesday, Buchane confirmed receiving reports of the presence of the elephants in Otjombinde, but said a large part of the constituency is a conservancy in which the free movement of animals is encouraged.

He noted that the ministry, through funds allocated to conservancies, will only be able to compensate for damage caused by the elephants as a result of human-animal conflict.

“Conservancies use elephants and other animals for trophy hunting purposes, which in turn generates funds for them. We are monitoring the situation and will act immediately if the elephants become aggressive to humans,” he said.

According to information given to Nampa, the elephants have also been observed in villages in the Epukiro Constituency, which borders Otjombinde.

Buchane and his team will travel to Okomukaru in the Otjombinde Constituency to assess the situation on the ground, although he did not say when this would happen.


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