Kunene Rhino Deaths – Symptomatic of Namibia’s Bigger Problem [analysis]

The Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) has launched an internal investigation after the Board was presented with a letter mid-December outlining possible collusion between some staff members and poachers who have killed at least 17 critically endangered Kunene black rhinos since late 2012.

The crisis at the SRT is, however, just part of a larger one in anti-poaching law enforcement and natural resource management in the so-called ‘Big Three’ communal conservancies – Palmwag, Abenab and Sesfontein – in Namibia’s southern Kunene.

An investigation conducted since July 2014 brought to light a complex set of political problems that pits communal farmers and their business associates against tourism and conservation interests, as well as abuse of office by local officials.

“SRT has initiated an internal investigation to look for facts around the poaching cases in the Kunene as they may relate to SRT,” chairman Dudu Murorua confirmed by email earlier this week.

The letter, addressed to former SRT CEO Simson !Uri-#Khob, outlined in technical terms how it was impossible for anyone to be poaching in what amounts to the SRT’s backyard between Khowarib and Palmwag without the active collaboration of people with intimate knowledge of both the rhinos and…

Source : Daily Maverick