80, rhinos, four elephants poached last year

Tujoromajo Kasuto

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism today said that 80 rhinos were poached last year, while elephant poaching has significantly decreased over the last eight years, dropping from 101 in 2015 to four in 2022, however, the same cannot be said for rhino poaching, which remains a concern with over 80 cases reported in the last year.

In an update on high-value species poaching in the country, the ministry notes that the Etosha National Park is a poaching hotspot and that immediately improved interventions have been put in place across the country, led by the MEFT, to combat wildlife crime.

Romeo Muyunda, the ministry’s Chief Public Relations Officer the Ministry and its partners in wildlife protection and law enforcement will step up efforts against wildlife crime in Etosha National Park particularly to curb rhino poaching.

Further adding that wildlife crime threatens not only the survival of the species but the reputation of the country’s conservation, socio-economic and tourism development as Namibia’s growing tourism sector is hugely dependent on wildlife.

This comes as according to MEFT Elephant poaching figures have declined steeply over the past years from the highest figure of 101 in 2015, 50 in 2017; 27 in 2018; 13 in 2019; 12 in 2020; 10 in 2021 and only 4 in 2022.

Muyunda reports that in 2022, there were two poached elephants in the Zambezi Region, one in the Kavango West Region, and one in the Kunene Region with no cases reported for 2023.

Meanwhile, rhino poaching remains a major concern, with 87 rhinos poached in 2022, including 61 black rhinos and 26 white rhinos.

In 2022, he says that 15 rhinos were poached on rhino custodianship farms, another 25 on white rhino private farms, and 46 in Etosha National Park.

Similarly, Namibia has previously recorded 45 rhino poachings in 2021, 43 in 2020, 61 in 2019, 84 in 2018, and 55 in 2017. One rhino has been poached this year.

“The rhino poaching situation requires the involvement of all stakeholders. Members of the public should report suspected perpetrators to the authorities. It is our hope that these figures will continue to descend until we reach the zero-poaching target,” he urged. He further calls communities to report suspicious activities to the authorities, “as the perpetrators of these crimes are within our society, and therefore we should. We must as a nation stand against the illegal plundering of our natural resources by rejecting and condemning wildlife crimes in our beautiful country.” Muyunda praised the work of the country’s anti-poaching units, which included the MEFT, Namibian Police Force, Namibia Defense Force, Game Farms, and Conservancies. “We salute the work of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Namibia Central Intelligence, Blue Rhino Task Force, Non-Governmental Organizations, farmers, the private sector, development partners and members of the public for their corporation and collaboration in this fight,”he adds.

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