Namibia is one of the most southern countries in Africa, and borders the Atlantic Ocean. The geography is diverse, with both rivers and vast deserts. Namibia is home to a plethora of wildlife, and is one of the only countries to address environmental conservation in its constitution. However, Namibia is also the location of a brutal hunting season. Beginning in July, and continuing for 5 months, Namibia hunters slaughter thousands of Cape Fur Seals.
The Cape Fur seal pups are killed for their pelts, while the adult male seals are killed for their penises. Their penises are ground up and sold at Asian markets as an aphrodisiac. The baby seal pelts can only be sold in Namibia to licensed dealers. The only purchaser of seal pelts from Namibia is Hatem Yavuz, who runs a popular fur production company.
In total, the Cape Fur seal hunting season only employs about 100 hunters. Although very few people participate in the hunt, it is responsible for the death of almost 80000 seals each season. The hunters herd the seals they intend to slaughter into a closed off area on the beach. They then proceed to club and stab the seals until they die. There are several protocols in place to make the hunt more humane. For example, the hunters are required to ensure the seal pups are separated from the adults in order to reduce stress put on parent seals. However, seal pups are often killed in the company of their parents.
There is also a particular way the hunters are required to kill the seals. Regulations set forth by the Marine Resources Act of 2000 say that, “a clubber must strike the pup a blow on the top of the head with a sealing club and with such force as may reasonably be expected to kill the pup and a clubber may not strike any pup, if he or she is unsure of being able to strike the pup in that manner.” The Act goes on to say that the pups should be stabbed in the heart immediately after, to not only ensure they are dead, but to also drain the pups of blood. The adult seals are killed following almost identical instructions, with the only major difference being they are shot instead of clubbed.
Although the means by which seals are killed is still brutal when regulated, it is made even worse by hunters who do not abide by these laws. Hunters in Namibia view the seals as destructive to the fish population, and they are not generally inclined to treat the animal with respect. Seals are regularly skinned while still alive, and may also be clubbed or stabbed repeatedly. This kind of horrific treatment is what inspires the action of outside environmental and animal rights groups.