Tuesday, November 25, 2014
AT least two more black rhinos have been killed by poachers in the Etosha National Park this month, bringing the total number of confirmed rhino poaching cases in Namibia's premier wildlife park to three. This was confirmed by MET spokesperson Romeo Muyunda. November has seen Namibia's rhino-poaching cases shoot by five, following the recent discovery of three rhinos killed by poachers in the north-west of Namibia, plus the most recent two in Etosha. The total number of rhino poaching cases in the country this year now stands at 20 - leaving no doubt that the country is at war with poaching syndicates.The first confirmed rhino-poaching incident in a Namibian national park was reported in late October, when a black rhino carcass, with its horns hacked off, was discovered in the western part of Etosha. That animal had been killed about two to three days before the discovery was made. The most recent two cases were discovered on the 12th and the 16th of November, according to Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) officials. Muyunda said one rhino, discovered on Sunday, is estimated to be nine months old and the other approximately two to three months old. MET would not yet comment on whether any arrests have been made to date, citing the sensitivity of the investigations underway. Following the first rhino-poaching case in the park in October, a reward of N$30 000 was offered by the police and the MET for information that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of the people responsible for the poaching. Source: The Namibian
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
THREE carcasses of black rhino were discovered in the Kunene region this week, two weeks after another carcass of a black rhino bull was found in Etosha. This discovery brings Namibia's official total loss of rhinos to poachers this year to a record high of 18, including 15 black and three white rhino. Some claim the number could be higher. Police deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi confirmed yesterday that an “aerial tracking team spotted three rhino carcasses . . . The ground team was dispatched to the area and they confirmed that three rhinos had been poached. Their horns had been removed” this past week. Kanguatjivi added that the find was made in the Anabeb conservancy but other reports placed the carcasses within the Palmwag concession. Dismissing allegations that four rhinos had been found without their horns in the Palmwag area, Kanguatjivi said the Namibian Protected Resources Unit had only reported three carcasses, and that any other carcasses found could be because of natural causes. By late yesterday, officials at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism had not yet confirmed the incident. Although not confirmed by MET, a look at recent statistics shows that at least 26 rhinos, black and white, have been poached in Namibia since 2009, the large majority in 2014. The decision to dehorn Namibia's rhinos, in an attempt to combat the rhino poaching crisis in the country, has met a mixed response. The strategy's costs, its effectiveness and the opportunity for corruption have all been cited as challenges. Furthermore, a source with close ties to rhino conservation in Namibia said law enforcement probes into rhino poaching “leave much to be desired”. At an official event in Etosha National Park last week, environment minister Uahekua Herunga spoke out strongly against poachers, and encouraged Namibians to “be a police officer, to be a soldier against poaching in this country”. The minister strongly felt the reward for any information on poachers and their movements should be increased, referring to a recent N$30 000 being offered in the Etosha poaching case. Moreover, he said that laws should be changed in order to ensure lifelong sentences for poachers. He explained that Namibia's tourism industry is the third largest contributor to the country's GDP and the killing of iconic wildlife negatively impacts Namibia's reputation as a tourist destination, decreasing tourism's contribution to the national purse. Anyone who has information of a wildlife crime being committed is urged to SMS the toll-free and confidential wildlife crime alert number 55555. Anyone with information can also contact the Protected Resources Unit's detective chief inspector Barry de Klerk at 081 129 0054, or inspector Louretha Tsuses at 081 268 6646.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
A REWARD of N$30 000 is being offered for information that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of the people responsible for the poaching of a rhinoceros in Namibia's premier wildlife sanctuary, the Etosha National Park, about a week ago. The reward is being offered by the Namibian Police and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, a police spokesperson, deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, said yesterday. All information provided to the police would be treated confidentially to ensure that the identity of informers assisting with the investigation of the poaching incident would not be revealed, Kanguatjivi said. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism announced on Wednesday afternoon that the carcass of a black rhino bull was discovered in the Etosha National Park on Tuesday morning. It is believed that the animal had been killed about two to three days before the discovery was made. Both horns of the endangered animal, which was found dead in the vicinity of the Galton Gate in the south-western corner of the wildlife reserve, had been removed, Kanguatjivi added yesterday. The discovery of the poached black rhino brings to 15 the number of rhinos found dead in Namibia so far this year as a result of suspected poaching. More than 40 elephants have also been killed illegally, mostly in the north-eastern part of the country, since the start of this year. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism on Wednesday called on all citizens of Namibia to be extra vigilant and to report any suspected cases of poaching or related activities to the relevant authorities. The ministry stated that it “condemns such ill-intentioned activities or illegal plundering of wildlife”. It warned that “the security apparatus of our country is ready to confront whoever will be caught taking part in these barbaric activities”, and that perpetrators would be made to face the full wrath of the law. The ministry, together with relevant authorities such as the police, customs officials and the Namibian Defence Force, will be intensifying its efforts to firstly prevent such incidents and to identify and bring to task people who threaten the country's conservation efforts, it was also stated. “Government, particularly the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, recognises that collective responsibility is the best approach to control poaching,” it was stated in the ministry's press release. Kanguatjivi said information that could assist the police with the investigation of the Etosha poaching can be sent by SMS to the toll-free wildlife crime alert number 55555. Anyone with information can also contact the Protected Resources Unit's detective chief inspector Barry de Klerk at 081 129 0054, or inspector Louretha Tsuses at 081 268 6646. Source: Namibian