Namibia: Tourists Warned Against Agitating Elephants


The Namibian

Date Published

Tourists visiting the Omatjete area of the Erongo region have been warned against filming elephants using drones because the instruments agitate the animals resulting in them destroying villagers’ homes.

This warning was given by the director of wildlife and national parks in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Colgar Sikopo, who also warned tourists not to feed the elephants with oranges and pumpkins as this tempts them to go around searching for such food.

Sikopo said a flying drone sounds like a swarm of bees to elephants and this terrifies them, adding that when such fear is prolonged, these giants become aggressive towards people.

Last week, elephants destroyed eight houses at Otjitakaneno village in the Otjohorongo Reserve.

Fabianus Hivirikee Uaseuapuani, a senior councillor in the Zeraeua Traditional Authority, under which Omatjete falls, said the community members feared for their lives.

He said three more homes were damaged on Friday evening by elephants at Omisema village in the Otjiuapeke area.

The authority and the community are calling for immediate action from the MET on the situation.

He said there is a specific bull that destroyed most houses and he wanted it put down before it killed someone.

The traditional leader said he called Sikopo and informed him about their fears and hoped the ministry would act soon.

Sikopo acknowledged the complaints and said a team of rangers was dispatched to the area to investigate the situation and report back to him for a final decision.

He said if it is found that the said bull is a problem, then it will be put down immediately.

He added that more rangers, some from Swakopmund, were sent to the area to control the elephants by driving them away from the villages.

“For now we are not sure the bull is the main problem. We need to be sure of that and only then can we put it down,” Sikopo said.

He said the elephants come to the villages in search of water and food because Omatjete, about 60km west of Omaruru in the Daures constituency, was badly hit by drought.