A controversial auction that coincided with an application signed by more than a million people led Namibia to go ahead with 7,000 for 170 animal elephants earlier this year, although in the end only 57 buyers were found.
The auction is a growing problem of human-elephant conflict in response to what the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Tourism has said, but conservationists behind the appeal (including the Born Free Foundation) say the figures are exaggerated despite claims that elephants are now extinct in 29 African countries. In the wake of an international outcry earlier this year, the government responded by saying elephant sales would really move forward.
The auction found that the wild sails sold to buyers for only $7,000, although in the end only one-third were bought. These animals will now be captured and moved to their new home.
Mark Healy, director of operations at National Park Rescue, who expressed solidarity with conservationists who oppose the auction, told IFLScience that most of the buyers came from abroad. This means that in case the sale is not canceled, the government is allowing the animal to be sent to foreign zoos, the opposition was keen to avoid two issues. “With only one-third of Namibia’s wild elephant sales looking for buyers, it is clear that international outrage and the global media have frightened some common suspects, limiting the damage to Namibians’ rapid disappearance of natural heritage,” Healy said.
“But unless millions of angry tweets turn into meaningful compensation for the protection of these shared world resources, their destruction is inevitable.” Two species of African elephant were officially declared endangered by the IUCN in March 2021, as it was revealed that their numbers were only 5 percent of what they were a century ago. “Their contributions to the ecosystem, tourism, carbon capture, and more are probably worth seven figures per elephant,” Hailey said.
“But instead of exploiting this value and acting as a wildlife conservationist for future generations, the government is focusing on the short term. But where are the short-term donors to stop these crimes against nature if the Global Environment Fund cannot finally protect our planet? ”