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Drought forces Namibia to auction 1,000 wild animals

The authorities declared a national disaster last month, and the meteorological services in the southern African nation estimate that some parts of the country faced the deadliest drought in as many as 90 years.

FILE: A young elephant grazes in the Chobe River in Botswana's Chobe National Park. Picture: AFP

WINDHOEK - Drought-hit Namibia has authorised the sale of at least 1,000 wild animals - including elephants and giraffes - to limit loss of life and generate $1.1 million for conservation, the authorities confirmed Saturday.

"Given that this year is a drought year, the [environment] ministry would like to sell various type of game species from various protected areas to protect grazing and at the same time to also generate much-needed funding for parks and wildlife management," environment ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda told AFP.

The authorities declared a national disaster last month, and the meteorological services in the southern African nation estimate that some parts of the country faced the deadliest drought in as many as 90 years.

"The grazing condition in most of our parks is extremely poor and if we do not reduce the number of animals, this will lead to loss of animals due to starvation," Muyunda said.

In April, an agriculture ministry report said 63,700 animals died in 2018 because of deteriorating grazing conditions brought on by dry weather.

Namibia's cabinet announced this week that the government would sell about 1,000 wild animals.

They include 600 disease-free buffalos, 150 Springbok, 65 oryx, 60 giraffes, 35 Eland, 28 elephants 20 Impala and 16 kudus - all from national parks.

The aim is to raise $1.1 million that will go towards a state-owned Game Products Trust Fund for wildlife conservation and parks management.

The government said there were currently about 960 buffalos in its national parks, 2,000 Springbok, 780 oryx and 6,400 elephants.

The auction was advertised in local newspapers from Friday.

Namibia, a country of 2.4 million people, has previously made calls for aid to assist in the drought emergency that has already affected over 500,000 people.

In April the government announced that it will spend about $39,400 on drought relief this year to buy food, provide water tankers and provide subsidies to farmers.

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