Ellanie Smit, The Namibian Sun | March 11, 2020
Significant successes, including the arrest of 63 suspects for wildlife-related crimes, have been recorded by anti-poaching units in the Etosha National Park since February last year.
This was revealed during a visit to Etosha by police inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta and defence minister Penda Ya Ndakolo last Friday.
The delegation flew in with a police helicopter to familiarise themselves with the situation on the ground and engage members of the units.
This is according to a statement issued by the police.
The anti-poaching units comprise of officials from the environment ministry, Namibian Defence Force (NDF) and the police.
The current commander of phase 18 of the joint operation, Chief Inspector David Sheehamandje, informed the delegation that during phase 16, which lasted from 16 February 2019 to 13 August 2019, significant successes were recorded.
A total of 18 old and fresh rhino carcasses were discovered in the park, while three individuals were arrested and five rifles were confiscated during the period.
During phase 17, which lasted from 13 August 2019 to 21 February 2020, a total of 16 rhino carcasses were discovered, 55 suspects were arrested, 14 rifles were confiscated and five pairs of rhino horns were recovered.
Since the commencement of phase 18 on 21 February, the operation teams have arrested five suspects and confiscated one rifle.
Both ministers and Ndeitunga applauded the anti-poaching units for their excellent work and successes, as well as their dedication, despite limited resources and other challenges they face.
They also emphasised the importance of protecting wildlife at all times to prevent potential poachers, middlemen and syndicate members from causing further damage to protected wildlife species.