Elephants threaten lives in Erongo
Marthina K Mutanga
The communities of Omatjete and Otjikakaneno villages in the Erongo Region are increasingly under strain because of elephants roaming in the residential areas and causing havoc to properties.
Councillor in the Zeraua Traditional Authority, Fabianus Uaseupuani confirmed that a woman and her child escaped death when an elephant destroyed a house they inhabited. He described the elephants as life- threatening to the community as 11 houses and a car were destroyed.
Uaseuapuani said only one person from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) is currently at the scene and they want this issue to be addressed urgently as the residents are still under attack from the roaming elephants.
Meanwhile, MET maintains that it has deployed a team in the Erongo Region in the area of Omatjete, Otjikakaneno and Ozondati to monitor a rogue elephant bull that is roaming and causing damage to people’s property.
MET spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, said they are currently observing the movement of the animal and if the elephant is aggressive it will be put down by the nature conservation officers.
“Wild elephants can destroy a farmer’s livelihood and a year of hard work in just a few short hours,” said Muyunda. He said elephants experience frustration and anger for a variety of reasons and the ministry has restricted tourists from stopping and photographing elephants as it can enrage the animals.
Because of the drought situation in the Erongo Region the elephants visit the villages to search for water and food.
Elephants in Namibia occur in three distinct populations namely the desert elephant of Kunene, the Etosha elephants and those in the Khaudum and Caprivi region. Desert-dwelling elephants can be found in only two countries in the world, Namibia and Mali, and can travel up to seventy kilometres a day in search of food and water.
Namibia's elephant population has doubled between 1995 and 2008 from 7 500 to over 16 000 individuals.
ROGUE: An elephant bull