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Namibia culls elephants to protect crops

The pachyderms are not fenced in and sometimes pose a threat to local communities, trampling through fields and occasionally attacking villagers.

FILE: Elephants at Halali in the Etosha National Park in Namibia. Picture: AFP

WINDHOEK - Namibia has killed 10 elephants over the past two months to prevent the freely roaming animals from trampling crops, the environment ministry said Tuesday.

The southern African country is home to over 24,000 elephants, mostly concentrated in and around national parks near the northern border with Angola.

The pachyderms are not fenced in and sometimes pose a threat to local communities, trampling through fields and occasionally attacking villagers.

Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said 10 elephants had been culled since April in the northern regions of Kavango West, Omusati and Otjozondjupa.

"This is something we are doing because we have no alternative," Muyunda told AFP.

"Living with such animals living outside parks comes at a cost during harvesting seasons."

Muyunda explained that only "problem animals" were being targeted.

"We are still observing whether there are any problem animals in some of the other regions that would warrant us to put them down," he added.

The culled elephant meat was distributed among local communities, while their tusks were added to the government's ivory stocks.