Two white rhinos killed at Farm Okamahoro

OTJIWARONGO: The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) are investigating a case of illegal hunting of protected game, after two white rhinoceroses were found dead at the weekend.

The rhino carcasses were found inside Farm Okamahoro, situated approximately 30 kilometres west of Okahandja in the Otjozondjupa Region.

The game farm is a privately owned commercial entity, farming with game like rhinos.

The Otjozondjupa Regional Police Chief Inspector, Michael Maikudumu told Nampa in an interview on Monday that two big white rhinos were shot and killed at Farm Okamahoro, possibly between Thursday and Saturday last week.

“The two big white rhinos were killed by unknown suspects and were only found dead at the weekend, with their horns all removed,” Maikudumu said.

Maikudumu said two other smaller horns of the same rhinoceroses were found on the slaughter scene at the farm and were recovered by the police.

He said the bigger horns were most likely taken by the perpetrators.

The total value of the horns that were recovered and those missing is yet to be determined, Maikudumu said.

No suspect has been arrested in connection with the case and police investigations in the matter continue.

This incident comes at a time when Namibia and other African countries are struggling to cope with rhino and elephant poaching, and the act of illegal hunting has taken a prominent spot under the spotlight of nature legislation. In Namibia, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Management Bill, which proposes tougher fines for wildlife crimes, is scheduled to go for public consultation in the next two months.

This consultation will take place before the end of June 2015 or early July 2015. Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta at a media briefing on the Bill in early May, said his ministry is in constant discussions with the Prosecutor-General with regard to issues related to courts and prosecution thereof.

The minister also noted that his ministry will continue providing communication, education and community awareness programmes, although much is still to be done in this regard.