By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – A lucrative trade in elephant dung has sprung up in Namibia, as people are turning to the jumbo excrement as a remedy to protect themselves from the marauding Covid-19 pandemic.
Many communities have traditionally used elephant dung, by inhaling its smoke, to cure various ailments from cough, flu, nosebleed, and as a painkiller for headache, toothache and other bodily pains.
With coronavirus now on the prowl, traders are now raking in money selling the elephant dung, which is purported to be effective against the novel coronavirus.
As of, 17 August 2020, the Southern African nation of just over 2.5 million people has recorded 4344 cases of coronavirus and 35 people have succumbed to the virus.
People are buying elephant poo to inhale the smoke and steam their dwellings in frantic effort to shield themselves from the virus.
A debate has been ranging about the healing powers of elephant poo against Covid-19.
Many people have been arguing fellow Namibians to turn to traditional remedies to beat the virus, while others have called for caution.
Over the past days, enterprising individuals are raiding national parks to collect elephant dung, to meet the growing demand.
Elephant are protected animals, but dealing in their poo is not prohibited.
However, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has warned that it is illegal to collect the dung from protected areas without a permit.
Romeo Muyunda, the ministry’s spokesperson cautioned that “It is an offence and punishable to collect elephant dung from the national parks or anything without a valid permit.”
He noted that collecting elephant dung outside the protected areas like in conservancies is allowed, although the ministry is discouraging its sale.
Muyunda has further warned those raiding the national parks to collect elephant dung for profit, risks a fine of N$1200 (US$69.00) or imprisonment.