Fugitive elephant herded back to park

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva

Environment and Tourism (MET) staff are herding back one of two elephants to Etosha National Park, while the search for the second elephant continues around Onyaanya and Omuntele areas.

The two elephants were spotted at Onandhi village in Onyaanya Constituency on Tuesday morning and are believed to have escaped from Etosha on Monday, causing anxiety among residents.

They are suspected to have escaped through the Onanke areas into Omuntele and further crossed the road to Onandhi, where they were spotted on Tuesday morning.
Although the local community has reported spotting at least two elephants, MET spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said the officials have spotted only one.

“The officials will continue to monitor the area where the elephant [was found] to see if indeed there is a second elephant,” he said.

Muyunda said the officials have slightly managed to herd the elephant in the direction of the park, but this is proving to be a challenge because the passages within the villages are very small.

He said officials will continue to monitor the elephant to ensure it gets back to the park safely and that putting it down would be the very last resort.

“We do not want to cause any casualties. We appeal to the people in Omuntele to be patient and vigilant, so we avoid further agitation of the elephant,” said Muyunda. He further said the ministry has not received reports of destruction of field crops.

However, a farmer told New Era the elephant fed on watermelons in his field, but did not cause massive damage.

MET’s Muyunda said the ministry is continuously working on its fence to avoid wild animals escaping from the park. To date, the ministry has covered some 125 km of the of the 820 km fence at the park.

“We work according to the availability of the resources, but we are content with the progress made so far,” Muyunda said.

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