OMUTHIYA - The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism has cautioned the public to refrain from collecting elephant dung from national parks as it is a punishable offence, with would be offenders liable to a fine of N$1 200. This was shared by the ministry’s spokesperson Romeo Muyunda in the wake of increased usage of elephant dung as a remedy for different ailments. Elephant dung is made up of a variety of plants and leaves that can hold substances for medicine to use in treating various ailments by inhaling the smoke. It is commonly known that the smoke can help heal a bleeding nose, sinus problem and headaches. Lately, social media has been abuzz with views and opinions on how effective the elephant dung is and gained so much popularity to such an extent that some have seized the opportunity to start selling the dung. It appears people have been collecting dungs either from parks whose species are protected as well as from conservancies and commonage areas. A dung is reportedly being sold for N$100, New Era has established. “It is an offence and punishable to collect an elephant dung from the national parks or anything without a valid permit, but in conservancies it is allowed. While on that, I would like to caution the public to be vigilant when looking for dungs in the wild as they might come across the jumbos, which is very dangerous to their lives,” warned Muyunda. He added such people may be mistaken for poachers and can thus end up arrested. Muyunda further advised people should be careful on using unconfirmed materials for medicinal purposes as that might be a health risk and cause harm.