09 Jul 2015 19:20pm
WINDHOEK, 09 JULY 2015 - No new poaching crimes have been recorded in the Etosha National Park during June this year.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta said during a media conference here on Thursday that the security in the park now falls under the Namibian Police Force (NamPol).
The Bwabwata National Park and the Palmwag area in the Kunene Region are also under the security of NamPol. The presence of the police in this area has already produced very good results, he said.
The parks have been battling rhino and elephant poaching for a number of years.
Since the beginning of the year, a total of 60 black rhinos and two white rhinos were killed for their horns in the Etosha National Park. In 2014, four black rhinos were killed, and only one black rhino poaching case was reported during 2010 and 2009, respectively.
During the years 2008, 2007 and 2005, no cases of rhino poaching were reported in Namibia.
Shifeta said that 41 suspects were arrested for rhino poaching. Twenty-nine of these suspects were apprehended in areas surrounding the Etosha National Park.
Thirty-two rifles linked to poaching have been confiscated in the park and surrounding areas. One of the suspected rifles, with a serial number ground off, was found in the possession of a former staff member of the ministry. Shifeta declined to provide any details about the former worker, only saying investigations continue.
He warned members of the public that they would be randomly searched if found in the vicinity of the park or any wildlife areas. No guns or rifles are allowed in the park, and any gun/rifle found in national parks or wildlife areas will be send for ballistic tests, said Shifeta.
From the above arrests, it is clear that local communities are being employed to conduct illegal hunting in national parks and wildlife areas. The poaching situation in the country can be reported to have been contained and brought under control, he added.