Over 100 Elephants Butchered By Poachers

Namibia has recorded 123 cases of elephant poaching in national parks between 2005 to date, with 222 tusks weighing close to 1910.20 kg confiscated. In total, the poached elephants resulted in monetary losses exceeding N$1.3 million.

The Deputy Director for Wildlife Management in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Colgar Sikopo, made the worrying revelations during the law enforcement and wildlife protection stakeholders’ meeting on Thursday in Windhoek. The meeting highlighted the levels of illegal killing of wildlife in the country.

Sikopo said 105 people in possession of elephant tusks were arrested between 2005 and 2013. While from 2005 to date, 11 cases of rhino poaching were recorded. Of the poached rhinos, 18 horns weighing 14.3 kg valued at N$599 532 were confiscated and nine suspects were arrested.

The economic loss from poaching of elephants in 2012 in national parks amounted to N$3.8 million. The losses accrued from Bwabwata, Madumu and Nkasa Rupara national parks where in total 28 elephants were poached. About N$2.2 million was lost through 142 elephants poached in conservancies in 2012.

Pohamba Shifeta, the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism said the Namibian elephant population has virtually quadrupled over the last 20 years to over 20 000 .

“We have more than 1 000 black rhinoceros. Recently we noted with great concern the increasing activities of poaching of rhinos and the illegal possession of 14 rhino horns in the country. Given that poaching for ivory and rhino horn is presently occurring in [the broader] Southern Africa, there is a high probability that attention will shift to Namibia. Poaching for ivory is already occurring in the north-eastern regions of the country, although it has now been contained,” Shifeta noted.

He added that tourism in general has grown to be one of the most important industries in Namibia in terms of its g contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment creation and the well-being and social upliftment of rural people.

In this regard to date, Sikopo said, Namibia generated about N$11.5 million from trophy hunting in national parks such as Bwabwata (Kwando, Buffalo, MUA and Mahango), the Waterberg Plateau, Mangetti, Namib Naukluft, Dan Viljoen and Von Bach.

About N$12 million was generated from trophy hunting for Zambezi Region conservancies in 2013. These conservancies are Balyerwa, Bamunu,Dzoti, Kabulabula, Kasika, Kwandu, Mayuni, Salambala, Sikunga, Sobbe, Wuparo, Mashi and Impalila.

Shifeta said there was a clear requirement for a strategy to upgrade law enforcement and wildlife crime prevention capacity in the country as well as for immediate action that should be part of, and feed into, the overall strategy.

“The immediate requirement is to control emerging commercial ivory poaching in the north-eastern part of the country and to prevent the westward spread of rhino and elephant poaching into the Etosha National Park and beyond,” he noted.

He emphasised that the focus should be on preventing animals being killed illegally and not just on doing follow-ups after they have been killed.

Source : New Era