Query: Response to the article “Poaching Stats Confusion”
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism would like to repudiate the notion claimed in the article titled “Poaching Stats Confusion” published in the Namibian Sun newspaper dated 26 July, 2017.
Response: The ministry would like to categorically state that there is no confusion regarding elephants and rhinoceros poaching, as alleged in the article. It is unfortunate and regrettable that the Namibia Sun still found it appropriate to publish the article in this manner even after facts were provided to the reporter. While the ministry concurs that there were some discrepancies in the statistics released in February 2017 compared to the statistics for July 2017 for arrested suspects provided to the reporter, we would like to express our disappointment about the article’s insinuation that we seem to have inflated poaching statistics purposefully.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism does not inflate poaching statistics at all; this would be unethical and severely counterproductive. It is important to note that poaching statistics will never remain constant. The following factors could contribute to changing of figures:
1. Carcasses of rhinos and elephants are discovered on an ongoing basis, and some of them are older and thus recorded for the relevant years, which may be other than the current year.
2. Additional suspects are arrested as police investigations progress, and other suspects are released for various reasons including lack of evidence to link them to cases.
3. Due to the involvement of regional police, PRD and MET offices, and their lines of reporting to head offices, there is sometimes a delay in the information reaching the responsible offices, and it can thus happen that the information changes shortly after new information has been released.
4. This delay in information between the various stakeholders can also lead to different figures released by Nampol and MET.
The ministry would like to inform the public that it is committed to providing credible poaching data and where discrepancies are found, careful scrutiny will be done to ensure such discrepancies are rectified.
• Romeo Muyunda, Chief Public Relations Officer, Ministry Of Environment and Tourism, E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org