WINDHOEK, The numbers of rhino and elephants poached in Namibia have dropped this year with 27 rhinos and 20 elephants poached so far this year compared with 60 rhinos and 101 elephants at the same stage of 2016, says Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET) Pohamba Shifeta/

Addressing a media conference here Monday, Shifeta said he was pleased that Namibia was starting to reverse the trends of poaching which he attributed to the establishment of an anti-poaching unit to eliminate the illegal killing of wild animals in the country.

After a high number of cases of poaching were reported in 2015, the Ministry established its Anti-Poaching Unit to fight this scourge.

"Our recruitment for the new Wildlife Protection Services or Anti-Poaching Unit has been slow and it is not an easy task with the current weather conditions and the financial situation in the country," said Shifeta, who added that the Ministry had put measures in place to control poaching in the country with the help of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), Namibia Defence Force (NDF) and other law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), conservancies and farmers.

NamPol and other law enforcement agencies arrested 75 people for wildlife-related crimes such as poaching of either rhinos or elephants in 2017 compared to 82 in 2016.

The latest poaching incident was reported in the Etosha National Park last week after two suspects who went for illegal hunting were attacked and injured by a rhino during their hunting activities. According to the ministry, one suspect was arrested with minor injuries while the other died from suspected dehydration and injuries sustained from the rhino attack.