Man dies after elephant attack

Niël Terblanché

An Angolan man met his untimely death after an elephant attack in northern Namibia, a stark reminder of the ever-present danger of human-wildlife conflicts in the region.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Romeo Muyunda, confirmed that the incident occurred on Wednesday night at Otjorute Village, inside the Uukolonkadhi Conservancy in the Ruacana area.

Muyunda said that the victim was part of a group of villagers attempting to drive the elephant away from their field when the tragedy struck.

He said that in response to the incident, the Ministry has initiated efforts to locate the elephant involved, while investigations into the specifics of the attack are ongoing.

The Uukolonkadhi Conservancy, where the incident took place, is part of Namibia’s extensive network of conservation areas designed to protect its diverse wildlife populations, including a significant number of elephants.

However, these conservation efforts sometimes lead to human-wildlife encounters, which can, at times, end tragically.

Muyunda said the tragic incident emphasizes the complex balance between preserving wildlife and ensuring community safety in regions where humans and wild animals live in close quarters.

Namibia, known for its commitment to conservation, is home to approximately 21,090 elephants, according to a 2023 survey.

Despite this, the country has witnessed a growing number of human-wildlife conflicts, with government statistics indicating that since 2019, at least 33 people have lost their lives and 54 others have sustained injuries due to such incidents.

As investigations continue, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism and the local communities are faced with the challenge of finding sustainable solutions to prevent future tragedies of this nature.

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