The seals of Namibia

In The Tourist Trail, I briefly touched on the cape seals of Namibia and how they are slaughtered each year.

While much of the world’s attention has been focused on the Canadian seal cull — and for good reason — attention must also be paid to the beaches of Namibia.

If you want to learn more, I recommend reading the blog of Seal Alert, an organization founded by Francois Hugo.

Francois has devoted his life to rescuing the seals that escape the cull — and fighting to end the cull altogether. The seal cull occurs annually and the quota is set at 85,000 seal pups and 6,000 bulls. There are videos of the cull on the web site and they are hard to stomach.

What troubles me most about Namibia is that it is squandering a natural resource rather than investing in tourists who would come to view the colonies (and bring in far greater money over the long run). Just as the whale watching industry has ensured protection of whales in many parts of the world, I cannot fathom why the Ministry of Tourism in Namibia can’t put a little more pressure on its Ministry of Fisheries to follow a similar, sustainable path. Francois has done his best to pressure them.

I’ve sent emails to both ministries and I’ve received polite (though ambiguous replies). But it can’t hurt if more people from around the world start making some noise.  If you have a few free minutes to shoot out a few emails, here are the two web sites:

Fortunately, a number of celebrities in South Africa are now mobilizing to raise awareness as well, boycott Namibian products, and disrupt tourism. To learn more, visit Seals of Nam on Facebook.


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