Namibia to launch elephant auction to fund wildlife conservation: official



Date Published
Funds from the intended auction of 170 Namibian elephants will be deposited in country’s Game Product Trust Fund (GPTF) for use on wildlife conservation and rural development projects, an official said Monday.

These include projects of wildlife crime prevention and law enforcement, protected area management and human-wildlife conflict mitigation measures including the provision of alternative water points for elephants to prevent them from using community ones, said Teofilus Nghitila, executive director of Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

“The GPTF is a mechanism to ensure that revenue realized from the sale of wildlife products is used for wildlife conservation, communal conservation and rural development programs aimed at harmonizing the co-existence of human and wildlife, thus securing a future for wildlife outside and within protected areas in Namibia,” he said.

According to Nghitila, Namibia’s elephant population is a healthy and growing population.

“The 170 off-take is extremely conservative. This is well below sustainable off-take levels, and the population continues to grow and expand,” he said, adding that the removal of the elephants will amount to less than 1 percent of the country’s elephant population.

Furthermore, he said the intention is to remove around half of the elephants in four conflict hotspots only, and not to reduce the population in general.

“The elephants will not be removed from conservancies and national parks but from communal and commercial farming areas,” he added after the ministry received a backlash from international media institutions, animal rights groups, individuals and self-proclaimed conservationists on the auction of the animals.

Meanwhile, he said Namibia is selling 170 elephants due to drought and increase in elephant numbers coupled with human-elephant conflict incidences.

“Besides the sale of elephants being based on scientific evidence, the ministry has also followed the legal procedures for the sale and tender procedures,” he added.