03 Aug 2013 11:20
KATIMA MULILO, 03 AUG (NAMPA) Namibia is working with conservation authorities in Botswana, Zambia and Angola to combat increased elephant poaching in the southern African region.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga said this on Thursday during the inauguration of national park infrastructure, as well as the launch of an integrated development plan for the Namibian component of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservancy Area (KAZA TFCA).
The event also saw the handover of various equipment to conservancies in that area.
Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe are partner countries to ensure that KAZA TFCA is developed as a sustainable conservation and tourism development programme from which partner countries can derive equitable social and economic benefits.
We are currently working on a range of projects with our partner countries. Notably, we are working with staff from conservation authorities in Botswana, Zambia and Angola to combat increased elephant poaching in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region.
Globally, poaching for ivory is on the increase, he stressed.
According to Herunga, by working together on joint patrols and in sharing information, countries are sending out a strong message to poachers and would-be poachers that poaching will not be tolerated.
He issued a stern warning to those involved in such activities to expect to face the full force of the law.
Last year, 78 cases of elephants poaching were recorded compared to six this year. Two cases of poaching were reported in Bwabwata and one in the Mudumu national parks, while three cases occurred outside the national parks, according to figures issued by MET.
This year alone, 23 suspects were arrested and 106 elephant tusks were confiscated.
The KAZA TFCA supports large herds of elephants and buffalo, plus rare and endangered roan and sable antelope and African wild dog.
The Bwabwata National Park constitutes and important corridor for animal movement within the greater region in Namibia and surrounding countries.
Speaking at the same occasion, Chief Tembwe Mayuni of the Mashi Traditional Authority in the Caprivi Region raised the same sentiments, noting that residents in the region have given up hope in the curbing of elephant poaching in the area.
Every one of us lost hope in the future of elephants. Now, elephant poaching is under control, a lot of ivories have been recovered, rifles confiscated, poachers were apprehended and some even gave themselves up, he boasted.
He commended officials from MET, the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation in the Caprivi Region and law-enforcement agencies, who have been working together to control poaching in the area. He called on community members, conservancies, and the private sector to report all illegal activities.