Aerial patrols to curb poaching

April 22, 2015, 9:48am

Aerial patrols to curb poaching

 
THE minister of environment and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, has announced that government will carry out aerial patrols in game parks and train rangers to effectively deal with the problem of poaching.
Shifeta, who was addressing a press conference in Windhoek on Monday, said some rangers are neither properly trained nor dedicated to their work of combating poaching in the country.
The minister's comments came a few days after news that so far this year, the carcasses of 38 rhinos that might have been killed for their horns had been found in the Etosha National Park. Of this number, 31 carcasses were discovered between 8 April and 17 April this year.
The 31 additional animals found dead could bring the rhino poaching death toll in Etosha within a period of six months, to 42.
“Our rangers are not properly trained and they are not dedicated. Thus there is a need to intensify patrols and we will deploy a helicopter that will patrol the park,” Shifeta said, adding that government viewed poaching in a very serious light.
The minister also said government was busy revisiting the law so that courts would be given the power to impose stiffer sentences on poachers.
He added that the ministry was working closely with the police and defence force, and would also deploy conservation specialists.
“We are trying by all means to seal our borders and to put trained rangers at our key designated border posts, ports and airports. We are also having talks with international partners to stop the marketing of rhino horns,” he said.
Shifeta also said his ministry recently visited Etosha National Park and was not pleased with the state of the fence around the park.
“We are busy getting a game proof fence. This is an expensive exercise but we will find resources to get it done,” he said.
According to official figures, Namibia lost 24 rhinos to poaching during 2014, and the menace appears to be on the rise.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Simeon Negumbo, stated at the end of last week that some of the 31 rhino carcasses discovered in Etosha since 7 April were old or still had their horns attached. He said the ministry and the police were still investigating whether all of the dead rhinos had been killed by poachers or not.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has announced a N$30 000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of people involved in poaching, as a way of combating the scourge.

By Nomhle Kangootui: the Namibian