Wildlife trafficking promotes corruption: Shifeta

07 Sep 2017 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 07 SEP (NAMPA) – The poaching situation in Namibia demands an update of the country’s current strategies and measures to curb illegal hunting of rhinos.
This is the view of Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta during a one-day workshop on the security of black rhinos on custodian farms and white rhinos on private farms held in Windhoek on Thursday.
“As poaching groups increase in size, number and sophistication, it is more important than ever before that law enforcement responses are robust, reliable and effective,” he said.
The minister said the increased involvement of organised crime in poaching and wildlife trafficking promotes corruption, threatens peace, strengthen illicit trade routes, destabilises economies and communities that depend on wildlife and their livelihoods.
Shifeta said he is proud that Namibia has had success stories in biodiversity conservation.
The proclamation of national parks such as Bwabwata, Dorob, Mangetti and Tsau/Khaeb after independence are vital tools for conserving Namibia’s essential biodiversity and mega fauna, including threatened and endangered species, he noted.
In a speech delivered on his behalf, Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga said black rhinos, especially those on private land, have become the target of poachers recently.
He urged farm owners to be vigilant and cooperative with the Namibian Police Anti-poaching Unit.
A total of 280 NamPol members, according to Ndeitunga, are deployed in the Palmwag conservation area, Etosha National Park and in the Bwabwata National Park.
Both Shifeta and Ndeitunga urged farmers to consider proper vetting of all employees as according to them, most of those involved in poaching related crimes are either former or current employees.
Deputy Director in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Kenneth /Uiseb worryingly cautioned that if poaching is not controlled, Namibia will by next year be in a very bad situation regarding the preservation of rhinos.
The workshop discussed, among others, trends in rhino poaching and illegal trade in rhino horns, national strategy on wildlife protection and law enforcement, proposed actions from security plans, as well as gaps and challenges on custodian land and private white rhino farms.
Participants are expected to identify solutions and measures to protect rhinos.