Namibia: Zero Rhino Poaching in Kunene Conservancies in Two Years - Jagger

22 September 2019

NO rhino poaching was recorded in the past two years in communal conservancy areas of the Kunene region, deputy minister of environment and tourism, Bernadette Jagger has said.

Jagger was speaking at the celebration of World Rhino Day on Friday, where she said said this was due to solid efforts by the police, members of the conservancies and rhino rangers.

Kunene region has the largest number of freely roaming rhinos among communities in the country, she said.

"To turn the tide on wildlife poaching and trafficking, the government has been working in partnership with the government of the United States of America to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade," the deputy minister added.

Rhinos are one of Namibia's most endangered species and these animals bring in revenue through tourism that contributes to the country's development, she observed.

The ministry is busy revising the National Strategy on Wildlife Protection and Law Enforcement, which will respond to new challenges posed by poaching and illegal trade in wildlife.

In recent years, Namibia and the Southern African Development Community have experienced a surge in wildlife crime and illegal trafficking of wild animals - with over 9 000 African rhinos poached between 2007 and 2018.

Also speaking at the event, US Ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson said wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar illicit business that is decimating Africa's iconic wildlife population such as black and white rhino.

"Wildlife crime undermines Namibia's economic prosperity and threatens the country's natural capital resources. It obstructs sustainable economic development, including the development benefits derived from legal nature-based enterprises such as tourism," she said.

Johnson noted that in Namibia, wildlife tourism is an increasingly important and growing industry that benefits both communities and the national economy.

She added that one of the successes thus far by the two governments is the promotion of community pride, combined with awareness creation around wildlife crime and this has proved to be the key in mobilising communities in the fight against poaching and wildlife trafficking.

At the event, about 25 rhino rangers that have worked in the field for over 15 years were awarded with certificates of appreciation.

World Rhino Day is observed annually on 22 September.

- Nampa

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