Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Launches Operation Desert Seal II
Sea Shepherd has dispatched our O.R.C.A.Force unit to Namibia to expose one of the biggest marine wildlife crimes known to man- the slaughter of 90,000 baby seals. A team of five committed and passionate activists were carefully selected to execute this dangerous mission.
The Namibian seal slaughter starts each year at the beginning of July and continues until the license holders reach their quota of 90,000 baby seals. The Turkish/Australian fur trader Hatem Yavuv buys all the pelts and processes them in his factory to provide haute couture fashion for his clientele without a conscience. “Last year a government official called us ‘Enemies of the State’ for interfering with their commercial sealing operation. That statement made us even more determined to come back and bring an end to the slaughter of the endangered cape fur seals,” says O.R.C.A.Force Director Laurens de Groot.
The unit has successfully crossed the Namibian border carrying high-tech equipment and is currently operating from an undisclosed location in the vast Namib desert. “We knew we had to be careful at the border as we knew another NGO was refused entry when it became clear they were entering Namibia to stop the seal slaughter, but our team crossed the border covertly at a crossing where they would never expect us,” explains Sea Shepherd South Africa Coordinator Rosie Kunneke.
After reaching the area of the seal slaughter the team immediately exercised a reconnaissance mission to see how the slaughter was organised this year. U.S. Army veteran Jake Weber explains: “The sealers and the government spent more money on security than ever before with armed patrols around the seal colony, a convoy of patrol cars surrounding the truck carrying the slaughtered baby seals, and guards with dogs patrolling the seal factory perimeter. They even sent out their brand new navy vessel ‘The Elephant’ to patrol along the Cape Cross coast. It’s their dirty little secret they don’t want anybody to know about.”
The biggest massacre takes place at Cape Cross which happens to be a designated seal reserve, and also the second largest tourist attraction in the Southern African country. The Namibian Government can make a larger, sustainable profit from live seals than it can from slaughtered ones and yet they continue to decimate the population of this vulnerable colony. This controversy is, simply said, insane on both a conservation and economical level. Sea Shepherd will continue to intervene and expose this atrocity until the whole world knows about it. Negative publicity will cost the Namibian tourist industry millions of dollars. Together with the rising cost of security, at some point it will force the government to shut down this atrocious practice.
Operation Desert Seal
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