World Wildlife Day 2017 dedicated to rhinos and elephants protection

28 Feb 2017 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 28 FEB (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) is dedicating World Wildlife Day on Friday to the protection of rhinos and elephants threatened by illegal hunting.
The ministry said in a media statement issued on Tuesday the day is also dedicated to the proper management of human-wildlife conflict, one of the ministry’s major problems, as well as to national parks and how they can be managed to benefit Namibians.
The statement said the ministry has organised a workshop for Friday to raise awareness of poaching; the need to intensify anti-poaching operations; and the need to raise funds for human-wildlife conflict management and protected area management.
President Hage Geingob will preside over the event, which will be held under the theme ‘Raising funds for wildlife protection and law enforcement, human wildlife management and protected area management’.
The ministry said the increasing number of wildlife crimes have reached a new level of violence.
“Well-organised gangs enter vulnerable areas and crime syndicates organise the trafficking of horns and tusks through complex networks leading to foreign markets,” it said in the statement.
If the syndicate-based wildlife crime is not controlled, it will trigger a vicious cycle, which will enhance rural poverty, it said.
Poaching could also negatively impact the attractiveness of flagship parks like the Etosha National Park and result in a decrease in tourism.
The ministry further said it recognises that living with wildlife often carries a cost, with increased wildlife populations and expanded ranges into communal and freehold farming areas, which leads to more regular conflict between people and wild animals, mainly elephants and predators.
“This has resulted in livestock and crop losses, damage to water installations and, in some instances, loss of human lives.”
The statement said there is an urgent need to reduce the impacts of human-wildlife conflict on vulnerable people, which requires funding.
With regards to national parks, specific challenges like repairing fences, lack of water facilities for wild animals and inadequate staff housing, amongst others need to be addressed.
The United Nations (UN) World Wildlife Day falls on 03 March and is aimed at celebrating and raising awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The UN is this year celebrating the day under the theme ‘Listen to the young voices’.