WINDHOEK, September 12 — Namibia’s Environment Ministry Chief officer Romeo Muyunda said there are more elephants in Namibia today than at any time in the past 100 years.
“One of the reasons for their increase in numbers is that they have a value. Communities have rights to manage and use the wildlife, and are starting to earn significant income from wildlife and this is creating the incentives for them to look after and protect wildlife and wildlife habitat, including elephants, all of which leads to a positive conservation result,” he said.
Namibia’s elephant population in the Kunene and Erongo region population in particular, is a healthy and growing population, according to him.
“It is growing at about 3.3 percent per year. The current levels of consumptive off-take are extremely conservative. They are well below sustainable off-take levels, and the population continues to grow and expand,” he added.
The official made the remarks Monday in response to accusations by two non-governmental organizations which accuse the government of indiscriminately issuing licenses for the hunt of three ‘desert elephants’ in northern Namibia.
The ministry called on the public and the international community to ignore inaccurate, false reports and assumptions pertaining to Namibia’s elephants and sustainable utilization practices.
According to Muyunda, controlled hunting and sustainable use of wildlife are a result of good conservation.
Current figures from the Environment Ministry pegs the elephant population at 22,000 elephants, the highest recorded number since population surveys commenced and showing a continuous positive growth trajectory.