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Namibia has lost 37 rhino to poachers this year – report

18 August 2016, 17:09News24 Correspondent

Omararu - Save the Rhino Trust Namibia has called for a demonstration this week outside a court in Omararu against the release on bail of two suspected rhino horn smugglers, as the authorities confirmed 37 rhino had been killed by poachers in Namibia this year, the group said on Facebook.

"We support Minister of Environment & Tourism Namibia, Pohamba Shifeta, who has implored the investigating teams and prosecutors to keep suspected poachers or smugglers behind 'lock and key' and to oppose bail," Save the Rhino Trust Namibia said on Facebook.

Quoting the minister, the New Era newspaper reported earlier this month that 28 of the rhino killed since January were from in the 22 000km-squared Etosha National Park. Eight were from the Kunene region and one was killed on a private farm.

In 2015, Namibia lost 125 rhino to poachers, the paper said.

The figure is about one-tenth of the number of rhinos lost to poachers in South Africa last year, where nearly 1 200 were killed. Zimbabwe lost 50 rhino.

Undercover operation 

Rhinos are targeted for their horn, which is powdered down and used in traditional Asian medicine.

It was not immediately clear if the rhino lost to poachers in Namibia were black or white. Namibia has both: in fact, its black rhino population is one of the largest in the world.

White rhino were reportedly extinct for a time in Etosha. They were reintroduced from the Kruger National Park in 1995.

Monday's demonstration came after the release on bail of two well-known local Namibian businessmen. They were caught with four rhino horns in an undercover operation in June, according to local press reports.

The horns were so fresh they still had blood on them, it was reported. The men were released on bail of N$55 000 ($4 155 US) each.

In June the Namibian government called for bids from trophy hunters to kill three black rhino.

Namibia has sold licenses to kill individual rhino every year since 2012. 

The authorities say the money goes towards conservation and anti-poaching work.

- News24


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