On the 4th of January 2021, the Pro Elephant Network publicly expressed their concerns with regard to the tender notice published on the 3rd December 2020 by the state owned New Era Namibian newspaper from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.
The tender notice was for the sale of 170 wild elephants from four commercial breeding areas in the north of Namibia. PREN urged the Namibian government to withdraw the tender notice and offered expert assistance with identifying and implementing solutions for human wildlife conflict, drought mitigation and perceived concerns of overpopulation of elephants in Namibia.
On the 11th August 2021, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in Namibia announced that 57 elephants of the 170 which were put on tender in December 2020 were sold. They confirmed that 42 elephants will be exported from Namibia.
By October 2021, some members of PREN received reliable information that indicated that the selection and capture of the elephants had taken place and that the elephants were being held in quarantine in preparation for export. The information suggested that a South African wildlife broker was involved in the process. The information further alleged that the wild caught elephants were destined for captive locations in the United Arab Emirates.
The EMS Foundation obtained a Legal Opinion which stated that it would not be lawful for the Namibian CITES Management Authority to issue an export permit under either Appendix I or Appendix II of CITES and that, similarly, it would not be lawful for a country outside of the range states for Loxodonta Africana to issue an import permit.
On the 12th of February 2022, John Grobler, a well-known and internationally published, Namibian investigative journalist was arrested and charged with trespassing under Ordinance 3 of 1962. According to John Grobler, he was arrested for allegedly flying a drone over a farm in Gobabis in Namibia, owned by GoHunt Namibia Safaris owner, Gerrie Odendaal, where 23 wild, captured elephants with two new born calves, are allegedly being held.
The EMS Foundation is concerned at the lack of transparency by the Namibian government. The EMS Foundation fails to understand why the processes of the capture, of the quarantine and the export and import of these elephants has not been transparent if no laws have been broken.
The EMS Foundation cannot possibly condone the heavy-handed approach of the Namibian government towards John Grobler.
The capture of free roaming wild elephants is a matter of national interest, general public concern and importance. This is a subject of legitimate global news interest. This is an example where an individual has intervened by taking a public interest action and attempted to disclose questionable behaviour by others.
©The EMS Foundation 2022. All Rights Reserved.
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