The Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism, Hounorable Pohamba Shifeta, launched the Revised National Strategy on Wildlife Protection and Law Enforcement in February 2021 in Windhoek.
“The revised strategy will serve as a policy to establish common approaches to the protection and conservation of wildlife and to ensure the effective enforcement of laws on wildlife resources in the country,” said Shifeta.
Wildlife crime in Namibia has become a serious concern that threatens our natural heritage and damages our environment. Well-organised gangs enter vulnerable areas, crime syndicates organise the trafficking of horns and tusks through complex networks leading to foreign markets.
If the current syndicate-based wildlife crime is not brought under control it will trigger a vicious cycle that results in enhanced rural poverty. Without conservation hunting, conservancies in Namibia can’t sustainably operate and pay their game guards to constantly monitor wildlife, this will reduce their presence on the ground. News about wildlife crime will reduce attractiveness for visitors in the country and the number of tourists will decline. Income in rural areas will drastically be reduced as community game guards will lose jobs, direct employment created through hunting and tourism will be lost, and controlled meat provision will be stopped.
The strategy gives a brief background on wildlife protection and law enforcement in the country. It provides for strategic programme areas such as wildlife protection, anti-poaching, and law enforcement; investigations and prosecutions; transboundary illicit trade; protection of rhinoceros within protected areas and outside protected areas; protection of elephant; protection of pangolin; community safety and security; partner and stakeholder coordination; and awareness and communication.
We hope to see a significant reduction in wildlife crime during the 5 years that the strategy is effective and beyond.