On 1st July 2023, Namibia officially started its annual seal hunt which could see up to 86,000 Cape fur seals killed for their fur despite a decrease in demand for pups and mounting opposition from animal protectionists, especially since 2009 the EU ban on seal imports. China is now the main market for the products coming from Namibia’s seal hunt. The brown fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus), also known as the Cape fur seal, South African fur seal and Australian fur seal, is a species of fur seal traditionally hunted for their skin in the southern hemisphere.

Namibia is home to an estimated 1.6 million seals, and it has now issued hunting permits for 80,000 pups and 6,000 bulls for the 2023 season.

Namibia is the only country in the southern hemisphere that commercially hunts seals, but commercial seal hunting also takes place targeting other species in Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Greenland. 

Naude Dreyer, the co-founder of Ocean Conservation Namibia Environmental Trust, said to AFP, “Such a decision should be made on demand and based on scientific research… it could be upsetting a whole ecosystem by taking out the bulls like that.”

Namibia does not have a good reputation for protecting wildlife. It is one of the African countries that allows trophy hunting, and in December 2020, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) offered up to 170 live elephants from populations in the northeast of the country for auction to zoos. In August 2021, MEFT announced that they had received and accepted bids for 57 elephants, 42 of whom would be exported. On 15th February 2022, MEFT issued a further statement confirming that 37 elephants had been captured, 22 of whom are awaiting export, and that a further 20 elephants “remain to be captured.” 

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.