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I write the following based on my personal experiences and assumptions. Though my motivation for writing this was the current social media frenzy, regarding the latest elephant that was shot as a problem animal, my writings are not directly aimed at this specific event.

We are quick to judge and jump on the bandwagon without having all the facts in hand. Through the spreading of false rumours and unethical hunting practices in the effort to try and get personal financial gain, is a form of reverse conservation and does more damage to our wildlife than harvesting animals selectively for the benefit of the community and the species. This applies to us as hunters as well as sensation seekers keyboard warriors and activists.

I’ve been personally involved with the conflict of the Western Arid Region Elephants for the last 20 years in the Kamanjab area and this includes several legally conducted hunts.
As I’m typing this my staff are busy installing an electric fence line in front of the lodge to keep my clients, as well as my infrastructure safe from elephants raiding our gardens at night. Not only one but sometimes herds of between 80 to 100 in an evening.

Who is paying for this? Not any wildlife conservation groups, no ill-informed reporting and definitely no activist and keyboard warrior . The money comes from our Conservancy and the funds was generated through the hunts conducted under the strict supervision of MET. The same money has reimbursed farmers and locals in the area for damages as well as several electrification projects over the last 20 years. Not to mention an intense tracking collar project to monitor the movements of 8 groups of elephants in our area in order to manage the numbers of elephants for research purposes. Again how much of this was funded by any ill-informed reporting, activist or keyboard warrior. Zero!!

One statement I’m not afraid to make is that there would be no elephants in my part of the world if it was not for the monetary incentive that created a value for them. The farmers and locals would have killed them all. We now have a stable population of about 200 free roaming elephants on communal and commercial land.

Let the ill-informed, keyboard warriors and activists continue with their efforts but please look at facts first before joining them in what can only be called exploitation of our Natural Resources for their own benefit. None of this will protect wildlife in real life Africa!

As a final foot note I would like to address my fellow Professional Hunters. We are custodians of our wildlife, exploiting this privilege places us in the same category as the rest and will have the same end result.

Let us put our human emotions aside and think rationally about wildlife and conservation in Namibia

Johann Veldsman

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