By Arlana Shikongo, The Namibian
The meat of a ‘problem’ elephant that was trophy-hunted on Sunday has been distributed among farmers and farmworkers in the Otavi area.
Romeo Muyunda, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, yesterday confirmed this.
The elephant was made available to be trophy-hunted, much to the dismay of some environmental groups and conservationists, as it was reported to be causing havoc on farms between Otjiwarongo and Otavi.
In a statement issued on Monday, professional hunter Jofie Lamprecht, said the elephant had to be put down because it was injured, and to prevent it from causing further damage. “[The elephant] had a tyre stuck to its front right foot. Abscess had already formed, and it was the opinion of several people that this tyre would not have come off unless, at great cost, the elephant was sedated, and the tyre removed.
“The foot would have caused this elephant great pain and a terrible death,” he said.
Lamprecht released a statement to clarify earlier reports that he hunted the elephant. He said he was only part of the facilitation of the hunting process in an administrative capacity.
“I can confirm that the elephant was ethically and cleanly hunted under the guidance of a Namibian-registered professional hunter of a different company, with his international client,” he said.
Furthermore, he said the decision to have the animal put down considered all aspects of economic costs associated with alternative options, such as relocating it. “The relocation of a problem elephant, when Namibia’s elephant population is already well over sustainable numbers is harming Namibia’s biodiversity and damaging its environment.
“At what cost would this elephant have been removed by darting and translocation, and to what end?” he asked.
Lamprecht said there is no space for elephants on commercial land, “simply because the damage caused is not economically viable for commercial cattle farmers”. He said the damage caused by the elephant at the Waterberg National Park posed a threat to other natural resources in the area.
Figures provided by Lamprecht indicate that a total of N$127,500 was raised to hunt the elephant.
The bulk of this, some N$ 107,500 went to the Platveld Boerevereniging (farmer’s association) for damages caused by the elephant, while N$20,000 went to the state-owned Game Products Trust Fund.
The fund was created to ensure that revenue raised from the sale of wildlife is reinvested in wildlife conservation, communal land and rural development programmes. “All the funds were handled through a lawyer’s trust account and can be fully accounted for,” Lamprecht stated.
The decision to put the elephant up for a trophy hunt was met with strong resistance.
In its defence, the environment ministry said it does not take pleasure in declaring an animal as problem causing, neither does it take such a decision for monetary gain.