By The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Conservationists are dismayed by Namibia’s decision to auction 170 elephants in a bid to prevent Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC).
The announcement has been widely reported after the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism published an advertisement saying the elephants would be sold to anyone in Namibia or internationally, subject to stringent conditions for their care and safety.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said selling the elephants will not solve problems of HEC and is contrary to the guidance of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), of which Namibia is a member.
“Selling elephants will not prevent HEC. The most effective way to mitigate the problem of conflict is by working with communities to ensure habitats are managed properly and solutions found to ensure wildlife and the people who live alongside them are protected. This has been proven time and again throughout southern Africa,” says Neil Greenwood, IFAW Regional Director for Southern Africa.
At the meeting of CITES (CoP18) member governments agreed to new guidance on the export of live elephants, saying trade should, with limited exceptions, be limited to countries within the natural range of African elephants and only for conservation purposes. Namibia was among a number of Southern African governments who subsequently said they would not implement the CITES recommendation.
“Simply selling off elephants raises alarm bells for the long-term welfare of the animals and there are many examples of similar such sales ending in years of tragic and cruel captivity for individual elephants,” said Greenwood.
“We urge Namibia to think again. There are solutions that will benefit both communities and elephants, including reaching out to the ngo community who have expertise and experience to help.”
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About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a global non-profit helping animal and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.