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Govt refutes migration of Caprivi rhinos to Etosha

By Risco Lumamezi

MINISTRY of Environment and Tourism (MET) has refuted allegations of the migration of rhinos from the western Caprivi to Etosha National park

In a probe to hear how true the allegations that, rhinos of the Caprivi Strip have been trucked and moved to Etosha for safe breeding, MET Chief Public Relations Officer Mr Romeo Muyunda has shot down the allegations that even before independence there were no rhinos in the formerly western Caprivi at Bwabwata park which is now under Kavango East region.

MET Chief Public Relations Officer Mr Romeo Muyunda

However, he set the facts that the environment and tourism ministry is giving–away an amount of sixty thousand Namibian dollars (N$60000) as a reward to any person who will report any poaching activities of wild animals.

This came after the ministry increased the reward money of whistle-blowers on poaching from N$30 000 to N$60 000 in 2016.

Mr. Muyunda told Caprivi Vision that his ministry has made efforts in collaborations with the law enforcement agencies such as the Namibian police and Defence force, and civil society to root out poaching in Namibia.

According to him, poaching has been on the increase and this has prompted the ministry of environment and tourism to apply some strict measures in controlling the safety of these most hunted species such as the rhinos and elephants.

The ministry has recorded the number of poaching of rhinos for the last 3 years starting from 2015, with 95 cases of poachers who were arrested in Etosha national park, while in 2016 the number of cases dropped to 60 and in 2017 about 31 poachers were arrested at Etosha National Park.

He said that most of the poachers are Namibians and the Chinese nationals are just only the culprits who are found in possession with the rhino horns.

“We know that the market is in Asia, most of the people poaching are Namibians, but if Namibians stand together against this, then they will be no poaching”

He added that the Chinese embassy in Namibia is only there to create awareness to Chinese nationals, “there’s no agreement we signed with the Chinese and that is their responsibility”

The ministry has also introduced other measures with the new concept of De-horning rhinos in Etosha in making them less attractive to poachers without horns, which is significantly earmarked that after 3 to 4 years the rhinos will go to their natural image that will also going to attract the tourists.

MET spokesman further stressed that Etosha national park is the only place, which is currently having rhinos in Namibia.