Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Poaching blights Namibia as Chinese scramble for rhino-elephant ivory, lion bones and rare Carmine birds
Conservationists fear the worst for Namibia’s biodiversity as a new secretive multi-million dollar poaching phenomenon has reared its ugly head, opening up markets for ivory, lion bones and rare bird feathers, reportedly smuggled to East Asia. Poaching in the northeast is apparently inflamed by the alleged advent of Chinese construction workers and businessmen in the region. Conservationist are astounded how Namibia, and to a certain extent its neighbours Angola, Zambia and Botswana are losing wildlife species already on the brink of extinction. In September alone, a total of 20 elephant carcasses, from which ivory was illegally removed, were stumbled upon in several parks in the Caprivi. Conservationists have also reported lions poached for their bones and skins, found during patrols. The lion body parts and bones are reportedly used for religious and medicinal purposes in Asia. In the Nkasa, Luipala and Salambala conservancies lions are reportedly killed, skinned and deboned. Conservation sources also claim the escalation of poaching of elephants, hippos and the Carmine bee-eating birds, the latter trapped for their feathers for ceremonial purposes in China.