Ellanie Smit, Namibian Sun
February 22, 2018
Poachers in Namibia have changed their tactics and are now entering private
farms with horses.
The use of horses not only complicates tracking but, horses also mask the
smell of humans.
Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said that the new tactic used by
poachers remain a concern to the ministry and that officials must stay
ahead of poaching syndicates.
He said a specific challenge with regards to poaching in Namibia still
remains poaching on private farms and this year three rhinos have already
Shifeta said even though rhino and elephant poaching appears to be on the
decline, there is a need to work harder to ensure that the poaching figures
are brought to zero.
?This year, I want further a reduction of poaching cases by more than 50%.
Let us rededicate ourselves to ensuring to ensuring that fewer rhinos and
elephants are poached this year.?
Statistics released by the ministry in October last year indicated that 27
rhinos and 20 elephants were poached in the country.
At that time Shifeta said rhino poaching had gone done down by about 50%
from 2016. In 2016, a total of 60 rhino were poached while 95 rhino were
poached in 2015 and 56 rhino in 2014.
With regard to elephants, there was a decrease of more than 80% compared
In 2016, a total of 101 elephants were poached, while 49 elephants were
poached in 2015 and 78 elephants were poached in 2014.
?Poaching is driven by international criminal syndicates and it is a
complex phenomenon,? said Shifeta.
He added that to address this problem it should be recognised that this is
not the normal subsistence poaching that the country has dealt with in the
past, as rhino and elephant poaching has become commercialised and there
are huge financial incentives for people to get involved and participate in
He also applauded the private sector that has come on board and supported
government’s efforts to eliminate the poaching problem and expressed his
gratitude to the forces on the ground that are protecting the country’s
Furthermore, the minister said that interventions should be made to manage
human-wildlife conflict as this conflict has become more frequent and
severe in recent years.
This is attributed to the fact that the human population growth, wildlife
population growth, unplanned agricultural activities, and the expansion of
agricultural and industrial activities, which together, have led to
increased human encroachment on previously wild and uninhabited areas.
According to Shifeta, human-wildlife conflict has frustrated many people,
in particular farmers, to the point where they have resorted to taking the
law in their own hands.
?I encourage our staff members to be prompt in responding to issues of
Delayed responses will trigger a bad reaction from the already frustrated
farmers, some of whom hunt and kill predators have caused damages to their
This news service is provided by Save the Elephants.