Namibia is winning the battle against rhino and elephant poaching – for now.
The country’s environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta told Nyasha Nyaungwa, reporting for Reuters, that only 27 rhinos were poached this year compared to 60 last year and 95 in 2015. Twenty elephants have been poached since January compared to 101 in 2016 and 49 a year before.
Namibia has one of the largest black rhino populations in the world; but as in neighbouring South Africa, it is under threat from the lucrative market in rhino horn, especially in Asia.
Shifeta said one of the reasons for the decline in poaching numbers is because more resources have been allocated to fight poaching. More government agencies, non-governmental organisations, private sector, international development partners, communities and the general public have come on board to support the anti-poaching efforts as well.
The Namibian police have so far arrested 75 people this year for ties with wildlife criminal activity of which most were with Asian criminal syndicates. Many cases relate to illegal hunting and possession of either rhino horns or elephant tusks.
A total of 30 rhino horns, 103 elephant tusks and 69 pieces of elephant tusk have also been recovered by ministry officials working together with the Namibian Police and Namibian Defence Force.