Pohamba applauds USA strategy to combat wildlife poaching

08 Aug 2014 15:20pm
WINDHOEK, 08 AUG (NAMPA) – Namibia views the United States of America (USA)’s Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking as an important mechanism to strengthen co-operation between Africa and the US, President Hifikepunye Pohamba says.
Speaking during a dialogue on the combating of wildlife trafficking that took place in Washington DC in the US on Monday, Pohamba said in order to succeed in the fight against wildlife trafficking, all relevant stakeholders should strengthen co-operation and continue to work together.
His statement was availed to Nampa by State House on Friday.
“Governments, law enforcement agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs), and communities must join hands to achieve our shared goal of bringing an end to the criminal activities such as poaching that decimate wildlife populations,” he said.
Pohamba boasted that Namibia now has greater numbers of wildlife than at any other time during the past 100 years. Over the past 20 years elephant populations here have quadrupled to more than 20 000. The population of black rhinos has also grown significantly, while Namibia continues to be the cheetah capital of the world. However, there is also cause for concern. Pohamba lamented the incidents of poaching of black rhinos and elephants that have been reported in Namibia in recent months. Although law enforcement agencies acted swiftly to arrest suspects, poaching and illicit trade in prohibited wildlife products remain a source of concern. Recently, Namibia strengthened anti-poaching measures by deploying members of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) to support nature conservation officials in patrolling national parks and conservation areas.
Pohamba said it is important to ensure that anti-trafficking measures go hand-in-hand with the promotion of sustainable utilisation of wildlife products, including properly regulated and administered trophy hunting as well as the marketing of wildlife products.
“As we continue to work together we should spare no effort to combat poaching and protect our wildlife. We should also mobilise the necessary resources and expertise to ensure success,” he added.
The dialogue took place on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington
DC that commenced on Tuesday and ended Wednesday.
The USA strategy for Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking was approved by President Barack Obama in February this year, intending to invest more than N.dollars 600 million in the efforts of countries to strengthen domestic and global enforcement, reduce the global demand of illicit wildlife products, and in building international cooperation and partnerships.
The strategy identifies three priorities for stemming illegal trade in wildlife: strengthening domestic and global enforcement; reducing global demand; and building international cooperation and partnerships. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will soon launch the Wildlife Trafficking Tech Challenge to seek innovative technology solutions to shut down transit routes, improve forensic and intelligence gathering tools, address consumer demand, and combat corruption along the illegal supply chain, according to a media statement issued by the Office of the Press Secretary of the White House on Monday.