There have been more elephant attacks on people in the North West this year than any previous year.
Reports from District No.5, Maun Police and surrounding areas, reveals that this year – from January to October – 13 people have lost life to elephants as compared to 2017 where three people were killed. Two people were killed in Maun, five in Shakawe, four in Gumare and two in Seronga.
Last month in a space of few days, two men lost their lives after being attacked by elephants in Gumare areas, with a 63-year-old man killed at Samotshoka cattle post on October 21 and a 48-year-old who was killed when with two other men near the village.
Residents have been crying foul that increasing elephant population has led to the increase in human wildlife conflicts in Ngamiland.
The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidate for Ngami, Cater Hikuama has regretted that people‘s lives were neglected in favour of protecting elephants.
He called for Government to come up with an immediate solution to this crisis. “I don’t know think there is a need to consult as we all know the problem. In 2014 when hunting was banned no one was consulted; why are they consulting now,” Hikuama rhetorically questioned.
Hikuama said some in Government are conflicted as they run lucrative business out of elephants. He decried that elephants are doing a lot of damage to crops, humans, buildings, water points and fences but no one cares. “Leaders seem to have much love for animals than the people – real capitalists. One would not be wrong to suggest ours is a government of the people for animals,” fumed Hikuama.
Chairman of North West District Council, Duncan Enga, admitted that there is problem of human wildlife conflict in the district which is caused by high numbers of elephants. Enga said there are various factors that should be looked at when it comes to addressing human wildlife conflicts.
He said the majority of people have suggested that culling can be the only solution.
Enga, however, said his council has unanimously told a parliamentary committee undertaking nationwide consultation on the 2014 hunting ban that they want controlled hunting to be returned to reduce human wildlife conflict in the district.
When addressing Dikgosi during their retreat in Maun on Wednesday President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the parliamentary committee is getting the nation’s opinion on whether hunting should be reintroduced or not. Masisi further stated that his government understand the plight of Ngamiland residents, noting that the government will not prefer wild animals over people.