A total of 116 elephant and 10 rhino have been poached in Namibia since 2012.
These figures were announced at a national law enforcement and stakeholder enforcement workshop that was held last week in the capital.
The workshop was aimed at deliberating on ways to enhance law enforcement and wildlife protection, as well as on how wildlife crime and illegal use and killing of wildlife in Namibia can be contained and minimised.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Environment Pohamba Shifeta said that the immediate requirement is to control the emerging commercial ivory poaching trade in the northeast part of the country and to prevent the westward spread of rhino and elephant poaching into the Etosha National Park and beyond.
“Given that poaching for ivory and rhino horn is presently occurring in Southern Africa, there is a high probability that attention will shift to Namibia, as we have recently experienced. Poaching for ivory is already occurring in the northeastern regions of the country, although it has now been contained.”
Director of Park and Wildlife Management Colgar Sikopo provided figures on recent poaching activities in Namibia and said that in 2012 two rhinos were poached, while a further four were poached last year and another four so far this year.
Since 2005 to 2013 a total of 18 rhino horns to the value of N$599 532 have been confiscated in Namibia and nine suspects were arrested.
This does not include the 14 recent rhino horns that were confiscated from three Chinese nationals who were arrested in March this year. The value of these rhino horns are N$2.3 million.
A total of 78 elephants were poached in 2012, 38 in 2013 and five so far this year.
From 2005 until 2013, a total of 222 elephants tusks to the value of N$1.3 million have been also been confiscated, while 105 people stand accused of poaching these animals.
Sikopo said that the economic loss of poached elephants in national parks during 2012 amounted to N$3.8 million, where 28 elephants were poached that year.
He said that the recent escalation of elephant poaching has been a concern and that the recent cases of rhino poaching show that it is spreading westwards.
“It needs to be brought rapidly under control.”
Shifeta added that following an extended period of low wildlife crime in Namibia there is a clear requirement for a strategy to upgrade law enforcement and the wildlife crime prevention capacity in the country, as well as for immediate action that should be part of and feed into, the overall strategy.
“The protection of wildlife essentially involves preventing crime. The focus should be on preventing animals being killed illegally and not just on following up after they have been killed.”
According to him the most effective component of crime prevention - whether in an urban or rural setting - is establishing and maintaining a law enforcement or security presence on the ground.
“For wildlife protection this requires dedicated, well trained and well equipped field staff. However, in the face of high valued products such as rhino horn and ivory, and the involvement of external criminal syndicates, this is seldom sufficient and additional components are required.”