Elephants: Gabon To Pay $5 Million Compensation to Victims of Destruction

Gabon To Pay $5 Million To Victims Of Elephants’ Destruction (News Central TV)

Gabon‘s government has included $5 million in its 2022 budget as compensation for victims, particularly farmers whose crops were destroyed by elephants.

On Monday, May 30, Gabonese Minister of Water and Forestry Lee White announced the provision in response to allegations that he was more concerned with defending elephants than human beings whose livelihoods the animal had destroyed.

Gabonese Minister of Water and Forestry Lee White

“The human-elephant conflict is very complex, and scientists have discovered that in the Lope National Park, the production of fruits has dropped by 80 per cent because the temperature has risen by 1 degree Celcius in less than 40 years, and rainfall has dropped. As a result, the elephants are hungry and leave the forest searching for fruits,” the minister said. 

Rather than killing the marauding elephants, he said, the government would consider building electronic barriers and other methods to keep the elephants out of farmlands.

According to the minister, the government recognizes the absolute necessity of “protecting people’s means of subsistence, security, and standard of living.”

When people accused him and the government of siding with elephants against humans, he denied it.

“This is not true, and we must look at the problem globally.

“In the past, we did not have a budget to compensate victims of the conflict between man and elephants. But, this year, we have included five million US dollars, the equivalent of 3,046,536,400 FCFA, in the national budget for the purpose,”  he said.

Human-elephant conflict has become a serious national problem in Gabon, with elephants regularly destroying agricultural parcels of land to the detriment of the national population.

Accusing the government of “protecting animals over humans,” several movements and associations have formed in Mekambo and Fougamou to fight for human interests against elephant extinction.

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