The Ministry of Environment Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) in the Republic of Namibia, a CIC State Member, published a call for tenders for the purchase and translocation of a total of 170 elephants. The tender is divided into four lots. The news has been widely reported on in the mainstream media, including Reuters, The Guardian, CNN and other outlets.
Drought and human-wildlife conflict are the reasons given for MEFT’s decision to auction off the 170 elephants.
However, one must not forget that the issue is also linked to the success of Namibia’s conservation strategy, one that has always considered the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as being mutually reinforcing. The Government of the Republic of Namibia recognises the sustainable use of natural resources as the key factor linking conservation to fair and equitable benefit-sharing. This is evidenced by the Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) programmes that are being run in Namibia, including the conservancy programme that was officially launched in 1998.
The call for tenders includes specific requirements, and places an emphasis on meeting high animal health and welfare standards, complying with relevant regulations, including a permit for exporting the animals where required. Interested parties have until 29 January 2021 to submit tenders.
In addition to mainstream media outlets, conservationists have been calling for those who truly care for elephants, including those, who are opposed to sustainable hunting of elephants, but have alternative sustainable population management solutions that do not entail sustainable harvesting, and have the necessary finances, to come forward in bidding for these animals. The money raised will go towards improving the lives and livelihoods of those directly affected by the human wildlife conflict associated with elephants.
There is still time. The CIC would like to join others in encouraging all those who wish to improve the lives and livelihoods of those coexisting with elephants, reward the successes of CBNRM, and see healthy and sustainable elephant populations, to come forward and bid.