THE illegal hunting of wild animals taints Namibia’s international image.
This was the unambiguous message from the conservation community following the alleged illegal killing of at least two leopards recently.
The incidents follow shortly on the heels of the alleged illegal killing of a collared lion earlier this year.
The two killings – one in thex Gobabis district and one close to Windhoek – have the wildlife community baying for the blood of the men involved.
Jacobus Coetzee (52) and Peter Jacobz (29) made a first appearance in the Magistrate’s Court in Gobabis on Friday. The men are accused of allegedly hunting a leopard, valued at N$144 600, with hounds recently.
Magistrate Lourens Pretorius released the two on bail of N$15 000 each. The case was postponed to August 12 for further investigation. Public Prosecutor Johan Pienaar represented the State.
In Windhoek, Joseph Schubert (56) made a first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Monday for allegedly shooting a leopard on a farm near the city in May.
Schubert was released on bail of N$8 000. Magistrate Justine Asino postponed the case to August 13 for a plea.
Upon enquiry, Diethelm Metzger, the president of the Namibia Professional Hunters’ Association (NAPHA), said this body condemned the illegal hunting of animals.
“Should these men be found guilty, they need to face the music,” he said.
He added that these incidents had a negative impact on the country’s international image. “Namibia has a very good international reputation in terms of its hunting.”
Coetzee and Jacobz are not NAPHA members. It is understood that Schubert cancelled his membership about a week ago when the 500-member hunting body’s disciplinary committee questioned him about the incident.
A moratorium on the hunting of leopards in Namibia was lifted in June this year.
A criminal investigation into the killing of the collared lion, Leonardo, has not been completed yet. The suspect, Keith Wright, has not been arrested to date.