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Nov 26

25 854 seal pups massacred in Namibia’s lowest “seal harvest”

Windhoek – Namibia’s annual seal harvest will drastically fall short of the set quota this year, “the lowest catch ever”, even as the nation says it is discovering new seal colonies extending into Angolan waters.

The Seals Of Nam comments – “These are not new seals. They are the seals that have fled from Cape Cross as they are wary of being bludgeoned to death.” 

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Namibia holiday

Seal harvesting in Namibia ends this week with only 25 854 pups having been clubbed to death for their fur, short of an annual quota of 80 000.

The Seals Of Nam comments – “In a desperate attempt to recoup some of the money frittered away through corruption and shady deals by the processing company, rights holders have resorted to a new low and will be scraping the barrel by selling seal meat laden with mercury and heavy metals through the local supermarkets.

This meat is harvested under the most filthy and un-hygenic conditions. Seals, covered in urine and excrement are left in piles swarming with flies to rot in the desert sun. They are transported on the back of unrefrigerated, open aired vehicles over 40 miles to processing locations where they are skinned out in the open. This amounts to bush meat which could result in a deadly Ebola outbreak.

Other infectious zoonotic  diseases include Ascariasis and Brucellosis. By putting seal meat on the shelves these greedy rights holders are putting not only the people of Namibia at risk, but the citizens of all southern African countries, if not the entire world.

Namibia licences right holders to kill 80 000 baby seals through clubbing and 6 000 bulls by shooting them, during a harvesting season, which runs from July to November 15, seeking to profit from selling fur and adult male penises, an aphrodisiac in Europe and Asia.

The Seals Of Nam comments – “Namibia is the only country on earth to brutally beat cubs to death while they are still dependent on the teat. By fraudulently promoting seal penis as a sexual stimulant, Namibia fuels an illegal international trade in animal body parts for fake medicines.’

“Looking at the decline in number of pups harvested, the trend would be same for bulls. We don’t expect the harvested seals number to be equivalent to the total allowable catch,” Charlie Matengu, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources spokesperson said in an interview.

“The number of harvested seals has been gradually going down. This year’s would be lowest ever catch,” Matengu said.

The Seals of Nam comments – “With the government getting approximately NAM$2 per pelt, this would mean the income from this years ‘harvest’ has been less than NAM$52 000.00 This equates to roughly US$4 700. Where is the logic in continuing with this barbaric and savage industry when it is costing the country hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue from tourism? It simply does not make any sense what so ever! 

Seal hunt kills Namibia tourism

Namibia tourism is suffering

Namibia, the second biggest hunter of seals behind Canada, last year harvested 51 464 pups and 3 968 bulls. In 2013, Namibia attributed the decline to right holders who did not have processing facilities.

The Seals Of Nam comments – We attribute the decline to the fact that the seals have become wary of Cape Cross as a safe place to live. It certainly isn’t the sanctuary as is falsely advertised in Namibian travel brochures. Daily disturbances at the colony, lasting for a period of 139 days has caused the seals to desert the area, move on and find other locations where they will not be harassed .

“Seals are wild animals and even more difficult, they live close to water thus making it difficult to have a 100 percent harvest. It is the nature of operation that causes the fluctuation of harvested seals,” Matengu said.

“One thing is clear, the fluctuation of the number harvested per year, does not have anything to do with the seal population.”

The Seals Of Nam comments – “It has everything to do with the seal population. Has Charlie Matengu already forgotten his recent press release in which he acknowleges the public concerns and reports of seals dying off in masse? The seal population at Cape Cross is starting to collapse. According to the Namibian government tourism website, there are 350 000 seals at Cape Cross. A professional wildlife surveyor has estimated that there are no more than 50 000 seals at Cape Cross. A journalist working for Algemeine Zeitung has told us he could only estimate the population to be at 30 000 seals.

Where are the rest? They have either been beaten to death or have fled to form new colonies. This can be evidenced by the new colonies forming up near the Angola border. By chasing these seals, a cold- water  species, into sub-tropical waters, the Namibian government is creating massive and dangerous pressures on a fragile Benguela current Large Marine Ecosystem and are responsible for an ecological time bomb waiting to happen. 

Namibia wildlife massacre

Ecocide in Namibia

Namibia says the animals are not harvested primarily because ‘they are a top predator in the Benguela ecosystem’. “That means, they must be consuming more food than other marine animals.” However, seal harvesting as a government policy, was not adopted “in order to attain balance in the ecosystem”.

The Seals Of Nam comments – “This is news to us and conflicts with public statements frequently made to the media by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernard Esau. Esau is regularly quoted in the media as saying the seals need to be culled to protect fishing stocks. We suggest Charlie Matengu and his boss sit down and decide on a joint excuse once and for all as to why the country perpetuates such heinous cruelty.

“It is not the interest of the Namibian government to adopt a seal-culling system in order to attain balance in the ecosystem. Contrary to popular beliefs, in Namibia, seals are regarded as an exploitable marine resource where the government can derive both consumptive and non-consumptive economic gains and government policy is to exploit them on a sustainable basis,” Matengu said.

“The government harvesting plans is not cull oriented to create balance,” he added.

The Seals Of Nam comments – We concur. No balance can or will ever be achieved by banning apex predators from their natural habitat, slaughtering them in such a manner that it causes them to breed faster and herding them so far North that they are now found well beyond their traditional range. 

If anyone believes this reckless and unscientific approach would create balance in the ecosystem, then they should revisit their tertiary education and ask for a refund, because no reputable academic institution would teach such drivel.

Namibia food production

Namibia food production

“It does not make sense to assume that the harvest is oriented in the sense of protecting fish stocks,” Matengu said. Namibia has previously argued that seals consume about 700 000 tonnes of fish annually and pose a threat to other fish stock. “Over hundreds of years, seals co-existed with fish species,” Matengu said.

The Seals Of Nam comments – “They wont for much longer because Namibia continues to exploit her marine resources beyond sustainable levels. This can be evidenced by the selling of hake to Spanish fishing fleets, the minister ignoring government scientists when allocating questionable quotas in return for football tickets, allowing super trawlers to plunder stocks and blatant mismanagement of the entire ecosystem. Is there any wonder why the species has suffered from several mass die offs due to starvation?

Namibia could be experiencing a “seal population boom” though this is yet to scientifically authenticated.

The Seals Of Nam comments – “Was the survey conducted by the government not scientific then? The same survey which was repeatedly requested by the ombudsman in order for him to conclude his findings and the results of which were deliberately witheld  for more than seven months, despite assurances from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources that these would be delivered timeously?

The outcome of the survey debacle was that the ombudsman was forced to break his promises by releasing a report without population statistics and thus bringing into question the integrity of his independence and making a laughing stock of his review.

Namibia's orgy of violence

Namibia’s orgy of violence

Namibia’s seals are estimated at around 1.3 million with cows making up the largest population at 618 700 while bulls and pups are at 348 263 and 326 560, respectively.

“There could be significant increases in the population because we have observed the formation of new colonies,” he said.

The Seals Of Nam comments – “Statistics from 1976 to 2006 on a colony for colony basis that have been provided to us by both the South African and Namibian governments show that 90% of seal colonies are either stable or are in decline. The only colonies that have shown a population explosion are the colonies where culling has taken place in recent times. These are Cape Cross, Wolf Atlas Bay and Kleinsee. When culling stopped at Kleinsee in 1990 the population growth went from 161% to 5%

When viewed as a whole, this localised population growth gives the false impression that the entire species is thriving. However, when we view these animals in their individual colonies an alarming picture emerges. The species has lost 95% of preferred habitat, has suffered several major mass die offs, is under massive threat due to climate change and overfishing and is in serious trouble.

Repeated requests by ourselves to obtain recent population data on a colony by colony basis from the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources have been ignored and the only response has been a rude and unprofessional reply telling us to mind our own effing business

Government scientists have recently discovered new breeding grounds for seals at Torra Bay, Mowe Bay Pelican Point, Sandwich Harbour and Tiger Bay in Angola. New colonies are continuously being discovered at Cape Cross, along Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, Matengu said.

The Seals Of Nam comments – “Government scientists need to open their eyes. The seal colony at Cape Cross has been around for years and is well publicised as a tourist attraction, as is the colony at Pelican Point an Torra Bay. In fact these colonies even appear on the statistics that were provided to us dating back to 1976. There is nothing new about them and to make such claims is both deceitful and ludicrous. Typical propaganda used in order to justify increased slaughter and perverse cruelty. Sadly for Mr Matengu and his ilk the rest of the world aren’t buying it and the stench of the Namibian seal massacre continues to flood the nostrils of an indignant world. 

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