American ambassador Thomas Daughton praised the Namibian #Government this week for its efforts to prevent poaching in the country. Complimenting the country for their conservation efforts, he said they were particularly “swift” in thwarting poachers. The statement followed last month’s USA congressional delegation visit to four African countries. The delegation was led by Senator Jeff Flake. They were impressed with the successes “evident” in anti-poaching efforts.

Poaching figures lower than reported

New Era #News reported that the US government is concerned about the levels of poaching that involved rhinos and elephants and they will do whatever they can to assist in the prevention and prosecution of wildlife crime in Namibia. Pohamba Shifeta, of the Ministry of Environment, responded by acknowledging there have been poaching incidents this year but went on to confirm that previously quoted figures were inaccurate. It had been reported that 29 rhinos had been poached, but many of them were old carcasses from previous years. “Seven rhinos have been poached this year,” he said. These rhinos came from the Etosha area. In addition, six elephants have been taken from the Bwabwata National Park.

Bwabwata National Park and the community

The Bwabwata National Park is in the far northeast of the country where Namibia shares common borders with Angola and Botswana and is very close to Zambia and Zimbabwe. The park is unusual in that local communities live within the protected area and work with the government in managing conservation strategy. The area is divided into controlled agricultural areas, tourism and wildlife sectors. The community involvement in Namibian conservation efforts was yet another area where they were praised for successful ventures.

Ambassador Daughton said that the USA is confident that Namibia is acting in a responsible manner and is showing excellent commitment in this regard. “They realize (…) the economic value” of wildlife protection, he said. Tourism, via “community conservancies” is an important response to wildlife resources.

Commitment

Shifeta said that whilst the government is committed to anti-poaching efforts, understanding the syndicates is vital. The ministry works with Police and other agencies to prevent poaching from taking place. Over the last twenty years, Namibia has made excellent progress in the protection of wilderness and wildlife resources. The country remains “committed” to the cause and will continue to fight for wildlife.

Trophy hunting

There is some controversy over Namibia’s continued stance to allow controlled trophy hunting in the country. The USA ambassador did not take any position on the issue when he spoke this week, but he did acknowledge that the USA delegation had heard from a number of agencies and Namibian authorities that the concept of responsible trophy hunting was benefiting conservation efforts by “providing value to rural communities.” #Buzz