Rhino poaching is slowly going down in Namibia

Mother rhino with her baby
Mother and baby rhino, photo: David Clode on Unsplash

Namibia saw a continued downward trend in rhino poaching last year after stepping up patrols and increasing fines, the government said on Thursday.

Environment ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda said 30 rhinos had been poached last year compared with 50 in 2019 and 79 in 2018. “The reduction is attributed to many factors, one of them is increased patrols by our staff,” Muyunda said.

Namibia has increased fines for poaching from 200 thousand to 25 million Namibian dollars ($1.66 million) and prison sentences have risen from 20 to 25 years.

The southern African nation is home to the second-largest white rhino population in the world after South Africa, according to the non-profit organization Save the Rhino Trust.

It is also home to the only free-roaming black rhinos left in the world, who are growing in number after nearly becoming extinct some years ago from poaching and drought.

Rhino poaching has plagued southern Africa for decades, especially in South Africa and Botswana, leading to anti-poaching programs, including de-horning and strict policing.

Africa’s rhino population has been destroyed over the decades to feed demand for rhino horn is used in East Asia as a supposed medicine and as jewelry. Rhino horns are made of keratin, which is also found in human hair and nails.

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