Namibia to sell 170 live elephants to stop conflicts with humans

Elephants in Namibia, photo: Bernd Dittrich on Unsplash
Elephants in Namibia, photo: Bernd Dittrich on Unsplash

Namibia is putting 170 live elephants up for sale to stop confrontations with humans and control the rising elephant population.

The ministry said the elephants are being sold “due to drought and increase in elephant numbers coupled with human-elephant conflict incidences.” Namibia is home to some 28,000 elephants, according to official estimates.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta told AFP that the government backed the policy of selling live animals after being criticized for shooting elephants to control overpopulation. “We decided, after research, to sell them instead,” Shifeta said. 

The advertisement said they offer entire herds of elephants to preserve the essential social structure in elephant communities. Infants or juveniles will not be left behind.

Shifeta said that Namibia would not recklessly sell the elephants to buyers. For export purposes, the buyers must ensure that CITES requirements are met for the trade to be authorized, according to the advertisement.

In October, 100 wild buffalo went up for sale in Namibia. Last year the government offered for sale around 1,000 animals, including 600 buffalo, 150 springboks, 60 giraffes and 28 elephants.

The elephant population had gone down to about 5,000 animals in 1990 but increased phenomenally thanks to a successful conservation program.

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