No new info on Etosha fire – PS – by Irene !Hoaës

No new info on Etosha fire – PS – by Irene !Hoaës  

05 October 2011

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Namibia — The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, has said there is no new information regarding the recent fire at the Etosha National Park.

The fire in the world-famed park killed an unspecified number of rhinos and elephants, among other wild animals.

In an earlier New Era report, the Chief Control Warden for Etosha National Park and Skeleton Coast Park, Rehabeam Erckie, said the MET would know the extent of the damage by the end of last week.

Elephants, rhinos and giraffes were among wild animals killed in the fire which destroyed between 250 000 to 300 000 hectares of the Etosha National Park.

Shangula would not say how many of each species were killed, but confirmed that at least one elephant and one giraffe were spotted dead from the air.

However, unconfirmed reports had it that at least 100 elephants were killed, although the Chief Control Warden maintained that it was too early to tell the number of animals that died.

“It is very difficult to say, only those ones spotted by foot. Small animals are very difficult to see from the air,” Shangula said.

The fire did not start in the park but on a farm outside the park.

Shangula however confirmed that a smaller fire also started in the park, originating from lightning within the park.

“However, it was not too much as it was put out by the rain, as the grass was wet.”

Shangula said it was difficult to manage veld fires, although they have fire-fighting equipment in the park.

“They are of limited use.”

He said they have firebreaks in the park, but somehow the fire managed to spread into the park.

During the past few weeks, veld fires have caused havoc in Namibia with thousands of hectares of grazing land destroyed and several hundreds of scores of animals killed.

In the Blumfelde area, at least 2 300 sheep and 28 cattle died because of veld fires during the past week.

In addition, more than 9 000 hectares of grazing land and 547 small livestock, including goats and sheep, were killed in the Dâures Constituency of the Erongo Region, two weeks ago.

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