Crimes Against Nature: Namibia
------ Forwarded Message
NIKKI BOTHA SPOKESPERSON
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007
Crimes Against Nature: Namibia
As you all know Francois Hugo (Seal Alert) has been deeply
involved in campaigning to end the Namibian Seal hunt. The
intention of the anti-culling campaign has always been to
get Namibian Authorities to stop all
culling/hunting/harvesting activities; and as of yet we
have not used this campaign as a fundraising tool. We
strongly believe that since the authorities have failed to
respond to any reason, one of our strongest recourses now
would be to explore our legal avenues...
The Namibia government knows they are on weak ground
regarding the baby seal culling issue. They also think we
(supporters, NGOs, etc) are not serious and are just
seeking publicity for our funding coffers.
They have this perception because if we were serious about
ending it, we would have gone
go to court to seek an immediate interdict to halt the
No such attempt has ever been tried, and this sends a
certain message to the authorities.
After speaking to an attorney yesterday, now know that we
are in a precarious legal position. The rolling three-year
quota was a smart move on Namibia’s part as it forces us to
act in an exceptionally short period of time or lose the
ability for a court application for next three years. The
first step we need to take in order to get Namibia to stop
the hunt, is obtaining an interdict. The first question a
court will ask is "Why did you not bring the application
when the hunt started?”
So the longer we take, the weaker our legal argument and
chance of success.
Namibia states its sealing policy is conducted under the
constitution in a sustainable scientific manner. They state
pup population (December 2005) is 205 500 of which they
awarded an 80 000 a year, rolling for three years, pup
culling quota. Scientifically speaking, 39% of the pups
born are within the scientific bounds of sustainability
that states 29% - 45% as sustainable.
The reality of the situation is that according to Namibia,
the pup population count for 2005 (December) was a total of
205 000. 2006 saw a
recorded mass die-off. In December 2006, despite promises
from the Namibian government, population figures were not
released (and to date these figures are unknown). Two South
African Scientists and one Namibian Fisheries scientist
stated in their research findings that there is a 62% pup
mortality rate prior to the start of sealing season that
started on the 1st of July. If you subtract 62% off the 205
000 pup population figures (before the mass die-off
occurred), you will find it leaves you with an amount of 78
090 pups that will be alive for sealing season. The quota
set for the cull is 80 000.
The conclusion is that this cull is clearly NOT sustainable
and in violation of their own policies of sustainable use.
What counts in our favour as well is that Namibia has
stated the sealing applies only to 80% of the population on
the mainland. Again, 205 500 less 20% (island seal
population) = 164 400 pups found on the mainland. Subtract
the 62% natural mortality rate and it will leave you with a
total of 62 472 pups. The quota = 80 000.
Our case for the seals is solid. CITES exports records
indicate that since 1990, sealers could only fill on
average 66% of the "sustainable" pup quota.
This proves the cull is not sustainable for the seals or
the sealers. What counts in our favour as well is the
confirmation last year by the Ministry that the seal
population in 2006 is still some 27% below the population
level in 1993. The Ministry and scientist reports confirmed
a mass die-off equal to the 1994 die-off (where Namibian
scientists found 95% pup mortality and half the adults) in
2000 and 2006.
all this into consideration, we decided that we need to
appoint an attorney, apply for an interdict and go to
court. But in order to do this, we need a legal fund.
Should you be interested in being part of this process by
contributing to this legal fund, please contact:
Mr. Jason Bell or Christine Pretorius of IFAW in South
ph: +27.21.424.2086; fax: +27.21.424.2427
Funders should please stipulate that as part of the
conditions for the funding, the sole legal decision maker
should be Francois Hugo of Seal Alert South Africa.
The application for this interdict is a matter of urgency –
the longer we wait to do so, the weaker our case becomes.
I thank you deeply and passionately for your time and
Miss Nikki Botha,
Seal Alert South Africa – Spokesperson
seal cow mourns the loss of her clubbed and knifed baby
the Seals - Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA