03 Aug 2013 09:40
KATIMA MULILO, 03 AUG (NAMPA) The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has made good progress in terms of wildlife crime prevention in the Caprivi Region.
MET Director of Park and Wildlife Management Colgar Sikopo told journalists during an excursion here on Thursday elephant poaching is far less compared to last year.
He said only six cases of elephant poaching were reported since the beginning of the year, compared to 78 cases the previous year.
Local media reported that four Namibians were caught with 37 elephant tusks worth N.dollars 317 000 in June this year in the Caprivi Region.
The situation is improving. Two cases of poaching were reported in Bwabwata and one in the Mudumu National Park, while three cases occurred outside the national parks. But we have improved in our strategies in terms of wildlife crime prevention, he noted.
According to Sikopo, many arrests have been made over the past few months. This year alone, 23 suspects were arrested and 106 elephant tusks were confiscated.
Queried over the six cases of elephant poaching and 106 tusks, Sikopo said it could be that the tusks were from elephant poaching that took place last year
He said many of the poachers are locals, but some are Zambian nationals who are working with other foreign nationals.
Poaching in Namibia is an organised syndicate, according to him.
Shipoko issued a stern warning to would-be poachers, and said MET together with law-enforcement agencies will bring the culprits to book.
He commended members of the community as well as the Namibian Police Force together with the Namibian Defense Force (NDF) for controlling and monitoring the situation.
We are seeing good results. We are now in the month of August, and compared to last year it is quite an achievement. Members of communities are working together with NamPol and the NDF to eradicate these illegal activities. We do not want in future, elephants to be hunted in this manner, he stressed.
In addition to elephant poaching, illegal hunting of antelopes and illegal fishing are also taking place in the national parks. During last month, police confiscated one dug-out canoe (Mukoro), and two suspects were fined N.dollars 150 each for illegally fishing in the Bwabwata National Park.
Sikopo said the suspects are mostly locals from Kongola, a nearby village, who hunt meat and fish for own consumption.
It is a cause of concern, but not worrisome at this stage, he added.