Seal Hunters Turn their Clubs on Journalists in Namibia


Photo via rrrina

I reported a while back that Namibia was gearing up for its much maligned seal hunt--and that 85,000 seal pups were going to get clubbed to death. Well, the slaughter is underway, but the seals aren't the only target of those blunt weapons. Seal hunting Namibians violently turned them on two journalists as well--and then had them arrested.The seal hunt, which will claim the lives of 90,000 seals--85,000 of which are young pups--is a controversial event, to say the least (though it doesn't seem to get anywhere near as much press as Canada's hunt). So it's not exactly surprising, though reprehensible, that Namibians involved in the hunt would want to keep journalists away, even if it meant doing so by force. Namibia has completely closed off the regions where the hunt is taking place in order to avoid bad PR. But two persistent filmmakers found their way in anyhow.

Sea Shepherd has the story:

On July 16th at 7 AM on the coast of Namibia, award winning journalists Bart Smithers (South Africa) and Jim Wickens (United Kingdom) were physically assaulted and arrested for filming the Namibian seal cull. They are currently being held at Henties Bay Police Station. Both the South African and British Embassies have been informed and are demanding the release of the journalists.
So they were clubbed, then arrested, and are now being held in Namibia. And it gets worse.
The two men were filming the controversial hunt in the Cape Cross Seal Reserve in Western Namibia. They were attacked by the sealers who were wielding clubs for the purpose of killing seals. Wickens and Smithers were working with for Eco-Storm on a project regarding the cruel Namibian seal slaughter, in conjunction with Dutch NGO Bontvoordieren. Namibian authorities have confiscated their cameras and video.
Which means the footage is most likely lost for good, and the journalists' efforts were largely in vain, leaving us with scant few photos (like the grainy one above) as evidence of the grisly event.

Unless, that is, word gets out about their detainment, and helps add to the negative publicity that should rightfully accompany a hunt which boasts the aim of killing 85,000 seal pups--by clubbing them on the head. And regardless of where you stand on the hunt--the treatment of the journalists is unacceptable to say the least.

More on Seal Hunts
Should Canada End the Seal Hunt?
Seal Hunt Embarrassment to be "More Humane"

Tags: Africa | Animals | Conservation

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