Govt defends wildlife slaughter for independence lunch

FOOD TRUCK … Scores of people in the Zambezi region move towards the food truck during the independence celebrations in Katima Mulilo on Thursday. The distribution of the food took place in an orderly fashion. Photo: Maximum Halwoodi

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism says the country did well enough in its conservation efforts to be able to donate wild animals for national events.

The ministry was referring to a wildlife donation for consumption at yesterday’s 34th Independence Day celebrations at Katima Mulilo.

This response comes after public concern was raised about whether donating various wild animals to be slaughtered and served for lunch to residents is in alignment with the country’s conservation efforts.

The following animals were donated by the ministry: 10 buffaloes, three kudus, two blue wildebeest, two hippos, one elephant and impalas.

Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu earlier this week said attendees at the Independence Day celebration would be treated to a lunch of game meat.

Ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda yesterday said the ministry’s donation was guided by its conservation principles as provided for in legal instruments such as the Constitution.

“We have done so well as a country in preserving our wildlife heritage to the point that we can afford to utilise some of these resources.

“It must be noted that our actions are informed by available scientific data. Hence it’s done in a sustainable way to benefit Namibians without endangering the populations of these species,” he said.

Muyunda said there is no better way to utilise natural resources than on the day of celebrating the country’s independence, as the nation looks back on its achievements in the last 34 years.

“One of these achievements is implementing a conservation programme that has not only led to wildlife population growth, but also improved the social and economic standing of our people by advancing opportunities such as employment and income generation,” he said.

Muyunda said all wild meat was sourced within the region.

Regarding further concerns that there was too much meat, Zambezi chief regional officer Regina Ndopu-Lubinda said she was not sure whether there was any excess meat.

This can only be determined by the chairperson of catering today, she said.


Former president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe in 2015 celebrated his 91st birthday by serving the public wild animals.
Mugabe’s 20 000 guests were fed a young elephant and two buffaloes. Two sables and five impalas were also donated to the president by a local landowner. He also threw in a lion and a crocodile to be stuffed as an extra gift for Mugabe.

The celebrations were described as “totally unethical” by wildlife conservationists and “obscene” by members of the opposition, United Kingdom publication Independent reported at the time.

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