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The American Embassy recently made a donation of about N$25 million to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to aid in Namibia’s fight against poaching.
At the handover ceremony Mr Thomas Daughton, America’s ambassador in Namibia noted that Namibia draws many tourists, but the peace of its wildlife is at stake.
Not one week goes by without a rhino or elephant poaching incident or without a suspected poacher appearing in court. In reaction to this challenge the American Embassy has decided to tackle the poaching crisis alongside Namibia.
The donation will be used to promote cooperation between officials, nature conservationists, law enforcers and rhino reserves.
Prosecutors and judges will also realise the severity of the situation through training and as such more offenders will be arrested and prosecuted.
At the same event Mr Chris Weaver, managing director of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said that Namibia has been the star of nature conservation lately. He stated that, “Poaching has become a serious, organised crime among syndicates. This is a challenge.”
“In the past community members used to do it for meat, but nowadays they do it for money. It has to be seen as a serious crime and not just something that happens in the community. Sentences have to be heavier. The ministry needs the support of interested parties and the police, as this is a worldwide problem.”
Mr Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment and Tourism, said the poachers are part of organised international syndicates that work with Namibians – especially in the Etosha National Park and the northwest of the country.
According to Shifeta his ministry is planning on decreasing poaching by 50% in 2018. The Namibian police, his ministry and prosecutors will ensure that these crimes are thoroughly investigated and that offenders are arrested and punished.
Shifeta appealed to the public to report offenders.