By Albertina Nakale
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism says elephant poaching in the Caprivi Region has reduced substantially due to collaboration between communities and law enforcement agencies.
According to the ministry its officials, the police and members of the community are hard at work to combat illicit hunting activities in the region. Colgar Sikopo, the Deputy Director of Parks and Wildlife Management in the ministry says this year only six elephants were poached compared to 78 killed last year. He further announced that this year alone, the ministry has confiscated 106 elephant tusks, including the arrest of 26 ruthless poachers comprising both locals and Zambian nationals. Sikopo revealed the figures during the inauguration of park infrastructure and the launch of the integrated development plan for the Namibian component of the Kavango Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) and the handover of equipment to conservancies in the Bwabwata National Park last Thursday.
When asked why the number of elephant tusks confiscated this year alone are so many compared to the six elephants poached, Caprivi Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Rudolf Kanyetu, yesterday explained that the tusks recovered are not necessarily those of the elephants killed recently. "Sometimes it is elephants poached a long time ago and the carcasses were not recovered. These people are also moving, sometimes you don't know whether the tusks are coming from Zambia or inside [Namibia\. And they (poachers) also wait a while after poaching, whilst they are looking for a market," he explained.
Kanyetu could however not provide the number of firearms confiscated from poachers so far, saying such information is "sensitive".
Sikopo said a voluntary residents' association known as Kyaramacan formed in 2006 works with the environment ministry field staff to patrol the park and that has resulted in a reduction in poaching activities in the region. Close to 6 000 elephants move in and out of the park. More....