Windhoek-No less than 380 people have been arrested in connection with illegal poaching since 2014, with five suspect arrested already in just the first five weeks of 2017. Last year alone, the number of people arrested in Namibia on suspicion of involvement in poaching activities stood at 158.
“We have realised that wildlife crime in Namibia has reached a new quality of violence and an enhanced frequency of incidents,” says Nampol spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi.
Cases of poaching have been on the rise and have been making headlines in the media. However, according to the Namibian police, a Wildlife Protection Service Division (Anti-Poaching Unit) within the Ministry of Environment and Tourism will become a reality and will tackle the poaching scourge in the country head-on.
Poaching typically involves well organised gangs of crime syndicates that poach and traffic horns and tusks through complex networks, leading to foreign markets.
Kanguatjivi explained that although the country has been experiencing unprecedented levels of poaching, particularly rhinoceros and elephants, the law enforcement agencies are well prepared to curb this menace.
“We have deployed a quite number of anti-poaching contingents in all national parks,” Kanguatjivi said, adding that the Nature Conservation Ordinance of 1975 has been under revision for a while and the Protected Areas and Wildlife Management Bill urgently needs to be promulgated.
The National Strategy on Wildlife Protection and Law enforcement for 2016- 2020 is effective and currently in force to tackle poaching.
Namibia is in the second-ranked country in the world for having the highest number of black and white rhinoceros, as well as elephants, with a staggering number of 250 000 elephants.