20 Nov 2016 11:40am
WINDHOEK, 19 NOV (NAMPA) The increased demand for illegal wildlife products calls for a collective effort among the international community to end poaching as the illegal activity undermines Namibias conservation actions.
Addressing the Hanoi Conference in Vietnam on Illegal Wildlife Trade on Thursday, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Tommy Nambahu said the unsustainable trade deprives nations, including Namibia of their natural capital and cultural heritage, which consequently undermines sustainable development.
Nambahu made reference to the conservation of species like rhinoceroses, African elephants and pangolins, which are highly trafficked illegally because of the alleged medicinal benefit from parts of their body.
A total of 103 rhinoceroses were poached over the last 10 years in Namibia, according to figures issued by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) in June this year.
According to the MET, 68 rhinoceroses and 23 elephants were killed by poachers in 2015 alone.
In a copy of his speech made available by the MET public relations department to this agency on Friday, Nambahu noted that with Namibias conservation programme underpinned by strong community involvement, these communities remain an important stakeholder in the protection of wildlife and deserve to benefit from the natural resource.
He said a community is granted rights to benefit from wildlife by using them in a sustainable manner through consumptive and non-consumptive ways such as hunting and eco-tourism.
Both forms generate jobs and earn communities an income, while poaching does not create jobs and infringes communities of any possible benefits.
Nambahu said Namibia is of the opinion that concerted efforts against poaching must be formulated and enforced, while the legal trade of wildlife should be promoted for the benefit of the communities and conservation.
Namibia strongly feels that there should be a clear distinction between illegal wildlife trade and legal wildlife trade. Efforts should be made to promote legal trade or else some of our successful conservation programmes which are based on creating incentives for the local community who live with wildlife will collapse completely.
The two day conference in Hanoi from 17 to 18 November brought together various non-governmental and State delegates from all around the world to discuss the pertinent issue of illegal wildlife trade and how they can all come together in combat of the crime.
The conference, led by the United Kingdom, was also supported by relevant ministries and agencies of the Federal Republic of Germany, and United States of America.