Albertina Nakale Windhoek-The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is yet to make a final decision on the relocation of the Garub wild horses or on the number of horses to be relocated in //Kharas Region. On the barren, sandy plains of Garub in the Namib Naukluft Park, the Namib wild horses are battling for survival, as there is barely a blade of grass remaining due to little rainfall experienced since 2014. According to the Daily Southern &East African Tourism Update, the wild horse numbers have plummeted dramatically, with not a single foal having survived since the onset of the drought. At present, only 40 mares and 70 stallions remain the area, which has been home to the Namib wild horses for over a century. The population numbers have dropped by half in the last few years. It is only through the generous donations from the public that the remaining horses continue to survive. The ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said they noted the concerns over the conditions and well being of the Garub wild horses in //Karas. “We are aware of the threats facing the horses such as drought and predators and we are working on a solution. However, we are actively working on resolving this matter, and our decision on this will be based on the best interest of the horses and the tourism industry in Namibia,” he assured. He said all aspects would be considered when making the decision to ensure the well-being and the survival of these animals. The ministry thanked the private sector and tourism industry for their support in working towards ensuring the survival of the wild horses. There are many origin stories for these wild horses, some suggesting these horses were abandoned by German stud farmers, others claim that the horses survived a shipwreck and made their way into the interior of the country. But these popular theories have been recently dismissed and disproven, and historians and zoologists now have the answer to the question of where these mysterious beasts came from. It was 1914, and German and South African troops were doing battle across what was then called South West Africa. The German forces had begun retreating from the 10,000 strong South African battalion, which was well armed and well equipped with over 6,000 horses. The South Africans had set up a semi-permanent camp in the Namib around a dug well to provide water to the troops and their horses. It was this camp that the retreating Germans decided to disrupt in order to try and delay the advancing South African troops. A German military report makes the following observation: “On the morning of March 27, the tireless flight lieutenant Fiedler flew to Garub and successfully dropped bombs on the enemy camp amidst 1,700 grazing cavalry horses causing great confusion.” The bombs that were dropped would have scattered some of the horses and many of those animals would not have been recovered as the South African troops quickly pulled up stakes and pursued the German forces shortly after the bombs fell. The horses that fled into the wild during these World War I skirmishes were supplemented by other escaped horses from stud farms around the region. Based on photographic evidence, a former mayor of Luderitz, Emil Kreplin, had been breeding workhorses just south of Aus in Kubub, and that some of these horses escaped the farm and eventually joined the other horses that had made it into the wild in the region.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-29 09:22:37 9 months ago