Home Entertainment Namibia sees highest ever level of rhino poaching

Namibia sees highest ever level of rhino poaching

by Ana Lopez
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The Namibian government said that by 2022, the number of rhinoceroses killed for their horns will reach a record high. Since 2021, the number of rhinos killed has increased by 93%.

According to new data from the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, 87 rhinos were killed in 2022, 61 black rhinos and 26 white rhinos. This is more than double the 45 rhinoceroses killed the previous year.

But the number of elephants poached has dropped “solidly” from 101 in 2015 to just four in 2022. Most of the poaching reported happened in Etosha, Namibia’s largest national park.

Romeo Muyanda, Head of Public Relations at the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, said in a statement –

“We note with grave concern that our flagship park, Etosha National Park, is a poaching hot spot.”

In June 2022, Pohamba Shifeta, Namibia’s Minister of Environment and Tourism, said the agency was investigating staff in Etosha National Park, as some of them were believed to be working with poaching groups who had recently killed 11 rhinoceroses in the park.

“This is not a normal incident of 11 rhino poaching in such a short time”

– said Shifeta at a press conference at the timeadding that the perpetrators had been arrested.

The new information has alarmed conservationists across Africa. Namibia has the third largest number of black rhinoceroses in all of Africa. Save the Rhino International, an organization dedicated to protecting rhinos, says there are only 6,195 black rhinos and 15,942 white rhinos left in the world.

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The head of the International Rhino Foundation, Nina Fascione, said she shares Namibia’s “serious concern” about the increase in poaching.

“Namibia has become a stronghold for rhinos in Africa with the largest population of black rhinos and the second largest population of white rhinos in all of Africa”

– said Fascione.

“Poaching efforts are masterminded by well-funded criminal syndicates seeking to push rhino horn onto the black market to fund other illegal activities [and] as poaching efforts around the continent increase, white rhinos – the most populous rhino species – continue to decline in numbers.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a brief, sharp decline in rhino poaching, one of the world’s most endangered species. This was mainly due to lockdowns in national parks, which prevented people from going there. But as the world has opened up, there has been a worrying increase in poaching.

rhino poaching in namibia
rhino poaching in namibia

“Travel restrictions during COVID have slowed poaching a bit, but now we are seeing a worrying increase not only in Namibia but also here in South Africa,”

– Hanno Husch, CEO of Rhino Revolution — a South Africa-based rhino conservation charity — told ABC News.

“A possible explanation for the sudden increase in poaching could be that there are almost no rhinos left in Kruger National Park.”

Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest park and has one of the largest game reserves in Africa.

“Due to the fact that there are almost no rhinos left in Kruger National Park, which has lost more than 70% of their population in the last decade, syndicates are now targeting Etosha, which is four times the size of Kruger.”

Paul Naden, a conservationist and director of Saving the Survivors, said cartels and gangs trying to meet the “unrelenting demand” for rhino horns, mainly from Vietnam and China, are driving up poaching rates. Rhino horns are commonly used as traditional medicines and cures in Asia. They are also used as a sign of wealth and status.

“As rhino numbers decline, the value of the horn increases, further fueling this question”

– said Naden.

“A worrying state of affairs for Namibia and it should be a wake-up call for the world.”

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