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Namibia’s Hidden Poaching Crisis

Posted by Richard Conniff on October 29, 2015

From the ivory black market in Okahandja, Namibia (Photo: Shi Yi)

From the ivory black market in Okahandja, Namibia (Photo: Shi Yi)

This story is dismaying for me, as I have often written about Namibia as a model of smart conservation and anti-poaching common sense. But no place is safe in the current war on wildlife. Or, let’s call it what it is –China’s continuing war on wildlife.

Here’s the reporting by Shi Yi, a Chinese investigative journalist working in southern Africa:

Caprivi imagesIt was a quiet evening in Zambezi, until a herdsman heard a gunshot in the wilderness. By the time the police arrived, they found an elephant carcass – and the tusks had been taken.

“It could be a good trophy animal. Poachers never take small ones,” said chief control warden Morgan Saisai at the Katima Mulilo office of Namibia’s Ministry of Tourism and Environment (MET).

The carcass brought the number of elephants poached in Zambezi, [a region until recently known as “the Caprivi Strip”] in the far north-eastern region of Namibia, to 37 this year.

Namibia is known for its extremely dry climate and desert landscape, but Zambezi is an exception. With the Zambezi river and its tributaries flowing through lush wetlands, it is home to nearly 10,000 resident elephants and thousands of migratory elephants, according to MET.

Poachers take advantage of this. Since 2011, more than 230 elephants have been reported poached in Namibia, more than 90% of them killed in Zambezi.

In the southwest of the country, more than 100 black rhinos have been poached. In addition to these two iconic species, poaching of other animals such as lions and pangolins is also on the rise.

There are indications that Chinese are the buyers behind some of the cases. Despite the anti-poaching messages that can be seen at many places in Namibia, I was frequently approached by locals for ..

4 Responses to “Namibia’s Hidden Poaching Crisis”

  1. curi56 said

    Reblogged this on HumansinShadow.wordpress.com.

  2. Nancy said

    Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".

  3. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction (#EcoSciFi).

  4. Is there any solution? Maybe the death penalty for smuggling ivory and for those who kill a protected animal? That’s sickening that the law doesn’t take action…

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