Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Namibian cabinet to review anti-poaching strategy as elephant, rhino poaching worsens

Last month, the Namibian cabinet met in an emergency session called to discuss specific new strategies to be implemented in collaboration with national law enforcement agencies in a fresh bid to curb the rampant poaching of elephant and rhino species. The meeting followed confirmation by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)that while the rhino and elephant poaching crisis has of late escalated alarmingly in the Western, Central and Eastern parts of Africa, Namibia is facing its own poaching crisis which is worsening every day. In the North-Eastern areas of Namibia such as in the Bwabwata, Mudumu and Nkasa Rupara National Parks and in the Eastern flood plains of the Zambezi Region, the poaching of elephants has been growing at an alarming rate over the past three years. Since 2012 until now, 126 ele-phants and 16 rhinos have been poached in Namibia. Fourteen rhino horns were also confiscated at the Hosea Kutaku International Airport from three Chinese Nationals. The origin of the rhino farms were and still is unknown. MET is currently evaluating potential measures and gathering available resources to put a stop to this ever-increasing problem. However, it was noted that the most cases of poaching seems to be cross-border crimes involving foreign nationals.
A budget for this initiative has not been set out yet. Additional funding will be needed for the creation of a dedicated Anti-Poaching Unit. Meanwhile, the founder of Ele-phants Without Borders, Dr Mike Chase, has decided to do the greatest African elephant census in history. Chase speculates that there is an approximate 410 to 700 thousand elephants left in the whole of Africa while there used to be an estimated 27 million in the early 19th century. hase’s team consists of 18 aircraft and 46 scientists in the elephant census project solely funded by the co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen. The team will also visit Namibia after surveying Ethiopia, and continue towards Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Source: Informante, Namibia

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