Namibian records decrease in rhino poaching: Shifeta

WINDHOEK: The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, on Monday said in his end-of-year statement that poaching remains an issue in Namibia, despite the recorded decrease over the year 2023.

According to Shifeta, 48 rhinos were poached in 2023 compaered to 92 in the previous year, while eight elephants were poached in 2023, compared to four in 2022.

Wildlife conservation continues to face the challenges of poaching, habitat fragmentation, and human-wildlife-conflict, issues that continue to reverse the hard-earned achievements in safeguarding wildlife, Shifeta said.

‘To bring poaching under control, we need to stand and work together as stakeholders. Poaching is not the only challenge, but so is human-wildlife conflict, this is due to new smart conservation methods that lead to an increase of wildlife outside of national parks. The main reports are crop damage, livestock losses, injuries to people, and in certain circumstances, death. The ministry has paid over N.dollars 31.7 millio
n since 2019 in offsetting losses due to human-wildlife conflict. The stakeholders did have conferences to seek solutions to address to conflict,’ Shifeta said.

In 2023, the ministry recorded 85 per cent compliance of the Environmental Management Act, which was enacted to protect the natural environment. The ministry received 1600 applications for environmental clearance and 984 clearance certificates were issued. The most common being for infrastructure development, urban development and mining. The high number of applications, Shifeta said, is attributed to the newly introduced online application system, which will continue on in 2024.

The government also completed a number of constructions in national parks, such as Sesriem, Skeleton Coast and Cape Cross, with further plans to develop other national parks across the country in the pipelines.

‘The ministry has carried out a number of inspections and in order to prevent further illegal activities. The ministry will continue to work with stakeholders in or
der to combat challenges such as poaching, human wildlife conflict, and climate change issue as tourism remains the key economic factor in Namibia,’ Shifeta noted.
Source: The Namibia Press Agency