The Namibian government is going ahead with an auction of 170 wild elephants due to drought and an increase in elephant numbers, despite objection from conservation groups.
The African nation announced in December that an increase in incidents of human-elephant conflict had motivated the sale of the large mammal at risk of extinction due to poaching and ecological factors.
The government will auction the animals to anyone in Namibia or abroad who could meet the strict criteria, which include quarantine facilities and a game-proof fence certificate for the property where they will be kept.
Online petitions from animal rights groups have gained traction, calling on the government to stop its planned sell-off of entire herds to the highest bidder.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare said selling the elephants will not solve problems of human-elephant conflict and is contrary to the guidance of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.