80 rhino poached in Namibia last year
08 Jan ’16, 6:07pm
Gaborone – The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism says the number of rhinos killed through poaching in 2015 has gone up from the 76 reported late in November to 80 following the discovery of four more carcasses in the Kunene region late in December.
Environment and Tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta this week told the Namibian, a local daily, that the remains of three adult rhinos and a calf were found by game rangers near Grootberg Lodge in the Kunene region.
“Three more were killed by late December and the fourth was a baby rhino that succumbed (to death) when its mother was poached,” Shifeta told the paper.
Further, he said three suspects, all Namibians, had been arrested in connection with the case.
Namibia’s rhino death toll has increased alarmingly over the years. Conservation groups have warned of the possible involvement of foreign ivory trafficking syndicates which hire and arm locals to poach and act as couriers for illicit ivory.
Namibia has experienced a spike in rhino poaching cases over the past five years with the death toll rising from one rhino poached annually between 2009 and 2011, to 80 fatalities in 2015.
Most of the rhinos were killed in the Etosha National Park.
The Namibian government has waged a counter-poaching campaign which has led to the arrest of several locals, as well as Chinese citizens, Angolans and Zambians in connection with elephant and rhino poaching since late 2014.