WHILE rhino poaching in South Africa continues to rise, the situation in Namibia is ‘totally in hand’, a rhino expert in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism said yesterday.
Pierre du Preez told The Namibian that the ministry has put in place many security measures to protect rhinos.
“More developments will be put in place, probably before Christmas,” said Du Preez.
He said when about 11 people were recently arrested for rhino poaching in South Africa, poaching incidents went down a bit but they have gone up again.
Du Preez said the South African situation is a serious concern to Namibia as it could spill over here. In Zimbabwe, however, rhino poaching has reportedly gone down.
In July this year, the South African newspaper Beeld reported that recent poaching incidents in Zimbabwe were linked to South Africa.
A March 2010 report on the conservation status of rhinos in Zimbabwe submitted by the government to the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (Cites) claimed that some professional hunters and safari operators from South Africa were supplying arms to rhino poachers in Zimbabwe.
In August this year, the South African Wildlife Service said poaching of rhino in that country was escalating at an unprecedented rate and more than 150 rhinos had been poached in South Africa, many of them in private game reserves.
Worldwide poaching of rhinoceros for their horns is at a 15-year high and all five rhino species in Africa and Asia have been severely affected.
Elephant poaching in Africa is also on the rise.
Although the Namibian rhino and elephant populations have not yet been exposed to this new wave of poaching, Government is actively bolstering its security and deepening its intelligence network.