No wildlife poaching crisis in Namibia: Shifeta

14 Dec 2016 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 14 DEC (NAMPA) – Rhino and elephant poaching in Namibia is not as serious as Namibians perceive it to be, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta has said.
Speaking during the year-end review of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) at State House on Tuesday, Shifeta said people are exaggerating when they say there is a wildlife poaching crisis.
“Wildlife tourism is still booming,” he stated.
The MET minister indicated that about 20 armed poachers were arrested since the beginning of December this year, the majority of them in the Etosha National Park.
He added that only 20 per cent of the 22 270 square kilometre Etosha National Park is fenced off, meaning it is easily accessible from any point.
Shifeta said Namibia has between 2 500 and 2 700 white and black rhinos and that the rate of deaths due to poaching is around 1.2 per cent; whilst the population growth rate of rhinos stands at five per cent.
There are also about 22 000 to 23 000 elephants in the country, “which is more than the country can accommodate”, hence the human-wildlife conflict in certain areas, the minister said.
Shifeta also indicated that the MET has changed its wildlife protection strategies as now, not only poachers are arrested, but also the people who they were carrying the work out for.