Drought-stricken farmers and other residents in Erongo Region, especially in Okongo and Omatjete settlements in Daures Constituency, are living in fear of their lives as they are constantly being ‘harassed’ by herds of elephant.
The situation, described as worrisome and stressful by some farmers, was also yesterday confirmed by the Governor of Erongo Region, Cleophas Mutjavikua, who feels something needs to be done urgently to protect the lives of farmers from these marauding beasts before someone is killed.
Mutjavikua said the situation is very stressful, adding that it was already brought to the attention of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
“The ministry is doing very little to help find a solution. In the meantime the elephants are terrorising these communities,” governor said. The prevailing drought is causing elephants to become bold and unafraid of humans in their search for water, especially in the Erongo and Kunene regions, making the situation unbearable for people in their vicinity.
Communities are being compelled to share their almost empty boreholes with animals that require hundreds of litres per sitting to quench their thirst.
Natalia Hoebes, a farmer in the area, said elephants destroy anything in their path while searching for water. “Our boreholes and fences are plundered by the elephants almost weekly and it’s costly and time consuming for farmers to repair these damaged fences,” Hoebes said.
She appealed to the government to do something. “They say it’s our animals and we love them too. They are nice to look at but are very scary. We cannot be oppressed by animals. We love them but they are just too much and we fear for our lives,” she added.
Hoebes has appealed to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to look into the matter and to find a satisfactory solution.
“We were taught in the past how to deal with elephants and other wild animals but currently with the drought we are frustrated and just want water, and this could cause a more serious conflict between the farmers and elephants.
However we need to find a solution before this happens,” she said.