MET accused of choosing elephants over human life

A 42-year-old man who allegedly survived an elephant attack on 19 October this year at his village in the Kunene Region has blamed the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) for allegedly formulating policies that favours and protect wild animals than human beings.

Kaehepere Uarije on Wednesday told Nampa in an interview at Outjo that he has lost trust in the MET as its human wildlife conflict policies are largely favouring wild animals than human life and his or her properties.

Uarije said this after he allegedly made numerous attempts to have the MET compensate for his vehicle that was badly damaged by an elephant that had a calf.

He said that the MET is partly tasked by government to handle or mediate in conflicts of different nature that occurs between wild animals and human beings, than to side with any of the two parties.

The man claims that on 19 October 2019 he and his 22-year-old nephew were attacked by a cow elephant which had a calf while they were traveling in a GWM pick up vehicle from a family farm to Makaria village.

Makaria is situated over 120 kilometres south of Outjo in the Kunene.

He said the attack occurred at about 08h00 on Saturday morning when he spotted an elephant and its calf at a very short distance in the mountains.

The elephant saw us first and in a short time it was running towards us, smashing the windscreen of my car, pushing and pulling it for nearly 15 minutes, he said.

Uarije said he and his nephew did not sustain serious injuries in the attack, but were in severe shock.

He said that during the attack, they had locked all car doors, windows and ducked near the car paddles to take cover.

Uarije said his vehicle was terribly damaged and even failed to ignite the engine after the attack and they had to abandon it there.

Officials of MET from Khorixas were informed about the incident and visited the scene.

MET spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda on Wednesday confirmed to have received information of the incident which was attended by his colleagues.

We were there at the scene and we found the two victims and the elephant already gone, he said.

Muyunda added that his ministry did not declare the elephant which has a baby as a problematic animal as this would happens in defence of its baby.

He also said his ministry does not compensate moving properties such as vehicles when they are involved in a situation with a wild animal on the roads.

It is like telling us to compensate a situation where a vehicle bumps a kudu on the road, therefore, all I can say is it is unfortunate that this situation happened, he said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency