News – Environment | 2019-08-28

by Arlana Shikongo

NAMIBIA is pondering leaving the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), after its proposal to allow for the hunting and trade of the southern white rhino and its products was rejected at the just-ended conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Minister of environment Pohamba Shifeta argued that the population of the white rhino is healthy and therefore does not constitute the animal as ‘threatened with extinction’.

Currently, the trade of white rhinos is prohibited as they’re listed by Cites as a species threatened with extinction.

Moreover, Shifeta pointed out that some of the parties to the convention who voted against the proposal do not even have rhino species in their countries. He said their views are political and not based on science.

“Instead of applying science they are politicising the whole matter,” he said. “There are some views that Namibia’s [white rhino] population is still small which we contested. Namibia’s population is the second largest in the world,” the minister charged.

He added that after the conference, member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would convene to further discuss the merits by which Namibia and other SADC countries’ proposals were rejected.

“We’ll go back as SADC, discuss about this and take a decision. We’ll consider our position in Cites because if Cites does not really help us to conserve our wild animals but frustrating those that are doing good; then I think there is no need for us to stay in Cites,” he said