Select your Top Menu from wp menus
  • Instagram
Tension between environment ministry and REST continues

Tension between environment ministry and REST continues

Staff Reporter

THE tension between the environment ministry and the Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST) is persisting, with the ministry claiming that REST is twisting facts, while REST alleges that the ministry failed to issue a holding and transport permit in time, forcing them to keep endangered birds illegally for almost two years and is currently failing to do what is best for the endangered species.

According to the ministry’s spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, REST is misrepresenting the facts in the matter. He said that the ministry decided to remove and relocate endangered birds that are kept at the REST facility in Outjo to a safe location. A decision, Muyunda said, that was made after REST suggested the removal and relocation of the birds as they did not want to keep the birds in captivity without a permit.

Muyunda acknowledged that REST submitted a request for a transport and holding permit for the birds in a letter dated 29 March 2022, but said that the application was not made in the prescribed manner and REST was thus advised to follow the correct procedure.

PICTURED: File photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo: Facebook (Rare and Endangered Species).

“A copy of the permit application form was also provided to REST on 6 June 2022 via email. Upon receiving our letter, REST wrote to the Ministry asking for the birds to be removed. Our Ministry constituted the team of qualified and experienced staff members to prepare for the removal of the birds,” he added.

This comes after REST shared a statement, saying that they cannot consent to the risk of transporting the endangered birds due to the “incompetence” of ministry officials. REST further claimed that past experiences indicate that the ministry is not capable of handling the situation in accordance with best practice.

REST said that they hope that the ministry will consider what is best for these birds and, according to them, that means transferring the birds to the N/a’ankusệ Foundation as the trust has identified the foundation as the best successor to care, protect and preserve the lives of the birds.
The N/a’ankusệ Foundation applied for a permit on 12 April 2022, but the application was not considered, according to Muyunda. He said that this is because the foundation had no right to apply for such a permit.

“According to national laws, only the person in possession or care of the species can apply for a transport permit to move animal species from one area to the other,” Muyunda explained.

Muyunda also responded to the allegations that the ministry was responsible for the death of the pangolin named Honeybun (HB) and said that the ministry provided the necessary support and permits to allow for the sick animal to get help outside Namibia. This, Muyunda said, was confirmed by the Director of REST, Maria Diekmann, in one of her social media posts.

In response to this, Diekmann said: “they did their best for HB simply because I remained professional and didn’t reveal all the horrible details of how we had to wait very long for permits, how I was told by a high MEFT official that MEFT had discussed breaking down my gate & confiscating her and how that would happen if I didn’t voluntarily take her to Windhoek and hand her over to their chosen vet”.

The matter is still before the court and Muyunda said that the ministry can therefore not divulge more.

Related posts