A total of 43 elephants and 14 rhinos were lost through poaching in Namibia this year.
Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga says his ministry is concerned about the current illegal hunting of wildlife in the country, especially the poaching of rhinos and elephants.
Speaking during the official opening of the Mangetti National Park on Friday, Herunga said poaching can have severe economic implications as it has adverse impacts on tourism and trophy-hunting.
“The current illegal activities in the country clearly need to be rapidly brought under control,” he noted. His ministry will thus continue strengthening its efforts in effective crime prevention and law-enforcement through the coordination and integration of clusters of activities through monitoring and adaptive management, as well as a strong and effective presence on the ground with a dedicated investigative unit which focuses on criminal syndicates.
Poaching activities do not benefit Namibians because the country does not have a market for ivory and rhino horns, and locals are being misled by foreign syndicates, he continued.
“Our people are being misled by international syndicates, and they just get pennies,” Herunga charged, adding that Cabinet has approved the use of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) and the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) to patrol the country’s national parks in efforts to eliminate illegal poaching.
Those involved in such criminal activities should refrain from these activities with immediate effect or risk facing the wrath of the law, he warned.
The Mangetti National Park is situated some 110 kilometres south of Rundu in the Kavango West Region, and covers an area of 420 square kilometres.
It was proclaimed a national park on 15 September 2008 with the aim of reducing rural poverty through conservation and to generate benefits from tourism for local communities.
Since the proclamation of the Mangetti National Park, an amount of N$1.1 million has been generated from trophy-hunting in the park directly for neighbouring communities through the Ukwangali Traditional Authority and the Kavango Regional Council.
The most abundant species in the park are eland and blue wildebeest, with a population of over 400 and 200 respectively.