The lone bull elephant that has been making its way across commercial and game farms in the Hochfeld and Omitara areas of Namibia for the past two weeks is causing increased concern.
While some farmers in the area were thrilled at the sight of the pachyderm on their land, several people have pointed out that the elephant's life could be in danger as a result of human-animal conflict.
The concern rises from the fact that the elephant will "inevitably" cause some type of damage to farm infrastructure such as fences or water installations, and as a result, farmers and government could deem it a 'problem animal', with fatal consequences.
The backlash could be severe. As a result of complaints, the elephant could be marked as a problem animal, and killed.
However, Colgar Sikopo, head of the Directorate of Regional Services and Parks Management yesterday dismissed these concerns, and said that the ministry has no reason for now to take steps against the elephant's presence there.
He said that ministry officials are closely monitoring the movement of the elephant, and that thus far, he has caused minimal damage and there is no reason to interfere with his passage.
Sikopo admitted that last week a farmer in the area lodged a complaint, claiming that the elephant had damaged his boundary fence. An MET team was dispatched and reported back that the elephant had caused only "minor damage", Sikopo said.
Sikopo said that as far as the ministry is concerned, the elephant is moving in its natural habitat and there is no reason for the MET or the farmers to be concerned about its well being or right to be there.
"The elephant is in the bush, although it is on a farm. This animal is in the wild. We just have to closely monitor it", he said.
Sikopo said the ministry does not see the elephant as a problem "unless there is really serious damages".
Sikopo confirmed that the MET was informed during the weekend of a possible presence of a second elephant in the area. He said that the MET is "still verifying the situation on the ground".
Christiane Thiessen, whose farm Otjimbuku, the elephant visited last Monday, said she and her team on the farm were overjoyed with the sighting. Thiessen described him as non-aggressive and calm around humans and said his behaviour indicated that he was careful not to damage any infrastructure, such as the low fences, on her farm during his visit.
"At arrival at the fence he lifted his legs and without doing any harm to the fence climbed over it. He was not bothered with us at all".
The origin of the elephant remains unclear.
An Erindi Game Reserve staff member on Friday said that they had driven out to view the elephant, and it did not match photographic records of any Erindi elephant residents.
Sikopo said that his team was following the elephant's trajectory, which on Friday morning seemed to indicate that it was heading north again.