Elephants for Sale as Namibia Responds to Overcrowding

(Bloomberg) — Namibia has invited offers for at least 170 elephants in the latest response by southern African nations to the increase in the animals’ numbers, which they say they are prevented from keeping in check by international pressure.

The elephants will be sold in family groups. A drought has made food scarce and the rising number of elephants heightens the risk of clashes with farmers, whose crops they sometimes eat. As long as international laws are complied with, they can be exported, the Environment Ministry said in a newspaper advertisement on Wednesday.

“Due to drought and an increase in elephant numbers, coupled with human-elephant conflict incidences, a need has been identified to reduce these populations,” the ministry said in the advertisement, which set out the sale terms.

While the number of African elephants has dwindled in recent decades due to poaching in east and central Africa, their populations are surging in southern Africa, crowding out other animals and causing them to stray onto farming land.

chart: Big Four

© Bloomberg
Big Four

Botswana, which has the world’s biggest elephant population at 130,000, has defied an international campaign and reintroduced hunting. It’s also trying to encourage some elephants to migrate to neighboring Angola. Zimbabwe, with a little less than 100,000, has regularly exported elephants to China. The two, along with Namibia and Zambia, oppose an international ban on ivory sales.

Offers for the Namibian elephants must be made by Jan. 29 and successful bidders will need to cover the cost of capturing and transporting the beasts, which can weigh up to six tons.

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