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Canadian firm ReconAfrica’s quest for Namibian oil and gas poses seismic risk to elephant behaviour

4 Jun 2021 - 12:15

Annette Hübschle and Sophie Rathmell wrote an Op-Ed, in the Daily Maverick, "Our Burning Planet" section, on 3 June 2021 as follows: "Our objection is coupled with a plea to employ the precautionary principle to protect the largest cross-border elephant herd from the harmful actions linked not only to seismic surveying but also from the ongoing exploratory oil and gas drilling in Namibia. 

Canadian oil and gas company ReconAfrica has submitted an application for an environmental clearance certificate to Namibia’s environmental commissioner to conduct 2D seismic surveys in the northeastern Kavango regions. Complementary to exploratory drilling, seismic surveys help locate oil and gas reservoirs. While the environmental impact assessment reports fall short on many fronts, we pick up on a particularly crucial issue which we believe is not dealt with in the assessment in a competent manner: the impact of seismic surveying on elephant behaviour".

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Annette Hübschle is a senior research fellow with the Global Risk Governance Programme at the University of Cape Town. Her research focuses on new harmscapes of the Anthropocene, resilience to climate change and trafficking flows. Originally from Namibia, Annette is a founding member of the NGO Frack Free Namibia.

Sophie Rathmell  is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Cape Town in Environment Society & Sustainability. Her research has a concentration in environmental and social justice. Originally from the United States, she has enjoyed immersing herself in the context-specific environmental issues that are present in southern Africa.