Drought-stricken Namibia sells 170 elephants that “threatened humans”

A total of 170 elephants have been put up for sale by the Namibian government due to an increasing number of “human-elephant conflicts” amid drought.

Namibia, plagued by drought, has put up for sale 170 live elephants to restrict their numbers in its territory, partly because of growing conflicts between humans and animals of this endangered species that international pressure is preventing from slaughtering.

A semi-arid and sparsely populated country in southern Africa, Namibia is home to some 28,000 pachyderms, according to Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta. The government has chosen to sell live elephants for several reasons, particularly their growing numbers, he told AFP.

“Some countries have complained that Namibia is slaughtering male elephants,” he said. “Instead, we decided, after doing some research, to sell them.”

A responsible approach

According to the ministry, the elephants were released for sale after “the identification of a need to reduce their population due to the drought and the increase in the number of elephants, linked to human-elephant conflicts”.

During independence in 1990, the number of elephants in Namibia had fallen to some 5,000, but it has risen sharply after the establishment of a protection program hailed around the world.

Mr. Shifeta points out, however, that Namibia does not intend to sell these elephants indiscriminately. “We have to be sure that the country is suitable” to welcome them, he said.

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