Namibia: Oranjemund Residents Condemn Killing of Rare Animals

by Oct 4, 2012Wildlife News

RESIDENTS of Oranjemund have condemned what they termed the “unacceptably cruel manner” in which veterinary officials and police have destroyed animals which were smuggled into the country. The veterinary officials apparently killed the animals by cutting their throats.

The animals – 12 Kobus lechwe and 17 white springbok – were destroyed after the police had seized them from South African citizens James Jannie Hoogstander (35) and Dawid Louw (25) following their arrest this week at the Oranjemund Swartkop border.

They were charged with illegal importation of endangered animals into Namibia as well as cruelty to animals.

Police Deputy Commissioner Rudolf Isaak yesterday said the animals were found concealed in a truck carrying bales of lucerne.

According to Isaak, each suspect was fined N$400 for illegal transportation and importation of animals, while the animal cruelty charges were dropped following their court appearance in the Lüderitz Magistrate’s Court.

Critics have called for a review of the fines imposed for illegal importation of animals, claiming the fines had never been revised since they were enacted in 1975.

Isaak yesterday pointed the finger at veterinary service officials for allowing the killing of the animals, saying the police officers only assisted in off-loading the animals from the truck.

Keetmanshoop-based veterinarian Annamarie Louwrens said the veterinary officials were forced to kill the animals by cutting their throats as the police had refused to shoot them.

Karas Police Commissioner Armas Shivute denied Louwrens’s claim, saying the veterinary officials were supposed to make a formal request to Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga for the shooting of the animals by the police.

The acting chief veterinary officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Cleopas Bamhare, said the animals had to be destroyed because of a import ban on live cloven-hoofed animals.

“Any similar imports will face the same fate,” Bamhare warned.

The import ban came into force in March following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal province.