Oil prospecting and trophy hunting in Namibia

29. April 2022

Namibia is allowing Canadian oil and gas company, Recon Africa, to enter a second phase of explorative petroleum drilling for three to six additional test wells in the country’s Okavango Basin. It appears that all 8 test wells have been approved by the Namibian government, in spite of being conducted in violation of the country’s own Environmental Management Act.

If Recon’s prediction of the size of oil reserves in the Okavango Basin is correct, the project is also in violation of Namibia’s commitment to abandon fossil fuels incompatible with the Paris Agreement on global warming.The Recon Africa license allows prospecting for oil and gas in an area spanning nearly 3,5 -million hectares across Northeast Namibia and northwest Botswana. The potential negative impact on wildlife in the sensitive Okavango Delta and the the Tsodilo Hills would not only  destroy  this UNESCO World Heritage Site, but reverse the uniquely positive conservation results for elephants achieved by Botswana during the presidency of Ian Khama.

In addition Namibia shamelessly violates CITES rules by exporting live elephants, encouraging trophy hunting, selling  ivory stocks and legally culling elephants. Windhoek claims that all of the above is necessary to reduce elephant populations in order to avoid human-wildlife conflict. The reality is much closer to the words of Mark Haley, director of National Park Rescue:

Falsifying elephant population statistics and exaggerating human wildlife conflict can be used by governments to generate revenue from inflated hunting-quotas,  justifying sales to zoos or hunting farms, and initiating ivory-generating culls……..Corruption is now as big a threat to elephants as poaching.”

___________________________________________ Sources/ news mongabay.com / national geographic / national park rescue / born free / lek chailert: elephantnature park

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