Rhino poaching has fallen 63 percent year-on-year in Namibia.
According to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, there were 46 incidents reported in 2019. This year, there have been 17 so far. This is a significant drop since 2015. After the rhino poaching crisis spread from South Africa, 80 rhinos were killed that year, according to Save the Rhino.
Namibia is home to the second-largest white rhino population in the world. Neighboring South Africa has the largest. Together with South Africa and Kenya, Namibia is home to around 87 percent of the world’s black rhino population.
Elephant poaching has also fallen in Namibia; this year there have been two reported incidents. Last year, 13 incidents were reported.
According to the Ministry, the drop is due to intensified intelligence operations.
Harsher sentences and higher fines for poachers are also a factor. The former has risen from 20 years to 25 and the latter has risen from around 200,000 Namibian dollars to 25 million Namibian dollars. In USD, that’s a jump from $13,431 to $1.8 million.
‘Excellent Collaboration With Law Enforcement’
Romeo Muyanda, a spokesperson for the ministry, said in a statement: “Another factor is the excellent collaboration with law enforcement agencies, such as the Namibian Police, the Namibian Defence Force, and the Namibia Central Intelligence.”
Earlier this year, Pohamba Shifeta, the Namibian Minister of Environment and Tourism, stated that “a range of capacity building” for wildlife management staff was undertaken in 2019.
They explained: “This included training for financial investigations and lifestyle audits; intelligence and international exchanges to facilitate information sharing among various partners, [and the] building of capacity and trust among the law enforcement agencies.”
Shifeta added that “providing incentives to communities from wildlife,” was also a priority, plus supporting the “men and women on the ground” with daily patrols, surveillance, and detection.
In South Africa, statistics also showed a decline in rhino poaching earlier this year. The country is home to more rhinos than Namibia and generally has more incidents of poaching. In 2018, 769 rhinos were poached, this fell to 594 in 2019.
Muyanda said the COVID-19 pandemic was not a major factor in Namibia’s drop in poaching.