Businesses save Kalahari elephant

2015-01-22 05:00

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Windhoek - Local business people in Namibia have stepped in to save an elephant bull roaming commercial farms that had been branded a "problem animal" and was to have been killed.

"We want to avoid what happened last year when a wild elephant moved into commercial farm areas from Eastern Namibia and was shot dead by officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism [MET]," Alex McDonald, who runs an agricultural business, told a Sapa correspondent on Wednesday.

"I engaged a few business people to collect some funds to move the elephant to a safer area like a nature park.

"We have now set up a trust fund via a lawyer and donations are coming in."

He said an application was made to the MET for permission to relocate the elephant to a safer area.

The elephant is believed to have entered Namibia from Botswana's Kgalagadi Cross-Border Park shared with Namibia, last week.

He was first sighted at the Kalahari Game Lodge near the border with Botswana.

"The elephant was very, very thirsty and drank a lot of water," said Divan Dreyer of the lodge.

The MET said on Wednesday it had first decided to kill the elephant but will now allow it to roam.

"Damages to [farm] properties were confirmed by our dispatched officials. In accordance with applicable legislation the elephant was declared as a problem-causing animal and a decision was therefore taken to destroy it."

The ministry however backtracked.

"The MET has received a request from some farmers to capture, release and transfer ownership of this elephant to them which the ministry could not do for various reasons," it stated in the same statement.

No reasons were given.

"These farmers indicated that no serious damage is caused by this elephant. The ministry has now decided to let the elephant roam the area without any intervention."

Once it causes serious damages, the ministry would have "no choice but to destroy the elephant," according to the statement.

Read more on:    namibia  |  southern africa  |  conservation  |  animals

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