FMD-free Waterberg buffalo on sale

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is in the process of selling off foot and mouth disease (FMD)-free buffaloes to reduce the number of these wild animals in the Waterberg Plateau Park for the purpose of better management.

One of the other reasons the beasts are being sold is to enable the park to better manage its grazing after the insufficient rainfall of the past rainy season.

Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) spokesperson Romeo Muyunda could not specify the number of live buffaloes up for sale to New Era last week.

He said: “this is not information that we can provide now.”
In an advert in the national press last week, the MET said Namibia has a population of disease-free, high value buffaloes with good genetics on Waterberg Plateau Park.

The ministry invited interested parties to provide them with a written technical and financial offer (in Namibian dollars) for the buffalo.

The ministry said the offer should indicate the price per individual buffalo, as well as the entire cost of the capture team, care and feeding, transport and all costs related to disease-testing.
Asked how much will it cost government to sell one buffalo and what determines the price, Muyunda said the ministry is selling the animals by tender and the buffalo would go to the highest bidder.

The buffalo can then be exported to any country, subject to the relevant import requirements, he said.
For prospective buyers within Namibia, he stressed that domestic veterinary restrictions will need to be adhered to. Asked whether it was the first time that Namibia is selling off live buffaloes, Muyunda said: “No, we have previously sold live buffalo through auctions”.

He said the proceeds of the sale would go to the Game Product Trust Fund and would be reinvested into conservation projects, including the management of buffaloes.

As buffaloes tend to be known for carrying Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Muyunda gave assurances that the buffalo in question are disease-free. He said the ministry retains the right to determine which countries are suitable recipients of the buffalo.

He explained that buyers are generally interested to acquire buffalo for conservation and to restock areas where buffalo previously occurred, as well as for game farming, tourism and hunting.

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