The Namibian government has indicated it will go ahead with plans to auction 170 “high value” wild elephants on January 29 due to drought and an increase in elephant numbers, despite objection from conservation groups.
An increase in incidents of human-elephant conflict had motivated the sale of the large mammal that is at risk of extinction due to poaching and ecological factors.
The auction of the animals will be available to anyone in Namibia or abroad who could meet the strict criteria, which include quarantine facilities and a game-proof fence certificate for the property where the elephants will be kept.
Animal rights groups and conservationists have since implored on the Namibian government to stop its planned sell-off of entire herds to the highest bidder.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), a global non-profit helping animal and people thrive together, said selling the elephants will not solve problems of human-elephant conflict (HEC) and is contrary to the guidance of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), of which Namibia is a member.
Namibia’s conservation drive, which has seen its elephant population jump from around 7,500 in 1995 to 24,000 in 2019, according to government figures, has largely enjoyed international support.