By Hilary Mare
HAVING killed and dehorned 101 elephants and over 40 rhinos in the previous year, poachers will imminently face massive Government backlash as authorities have implemented a new wave of rebuttal strategies.
Through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Government last week put in force a wildlife law enforcement training facility that will house up to 495 trainees and serve as a centre of recruitment for rangers and wardens in the preservation of wildlife.
This is coupled by an awareness campaign via road side billboards making a clarion call to members of the public to play a key role in reporting wildlife crimes.
To further this agenda, Confidente is informed that the US embassy has also made available a kitty of up to US$10 million with the bulk of this funding aimed at fighting wildlife crimes and primarily poaching of endangered wild animals.
Affirming this sustainable development agenda, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta alluded that wildlife trafficking has become a million dollar criminal enterprise that has expanded to more than just a conservation concern.
“The increasing involvement of organised crime in poaching and wildlife trafficking promotes corruption, threatens peace, strengthens illicit trade routes, destabilises economies and communities that depend on wildlife for their livelihoods.
“The Ministry of Environment and Tourism obtained an approval to establish the Wildlife Protection Services or Anti-Poaching Unit of four hundred and ninety five (495) staff members. These staff members will go through training at this facility. We will also use this training facility for the recruitment of Wardens, Rangers and Assistant Rangers as they have to go through some practical and theoretical selection processes so that we get the right staff for the job.
“For us, the process of recruiting wardens, rangers and assistant rangers is a critical step for improving the overall quality of the candidates that proceed to basic training, and provides an important opportunity for strengthening the performance of an area’s warden, ranger, and assistant ranger force over the long term. In contrast, ineffective recruitment, resulting in the appointment of inappropriate candidates, is not only a missed opportunity for reinforcing the area’s ranger force, but can also lead to poor performance, interpersonal difficulties and low ranger moral and motivation. Appropriate staff will therefore be recruited for anti-poaching activities at this training centre,” he said.
Essentially, part of the funding for these initiatives was afforded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which for over a decade has addressed environmental issues in Namibia and forged interventions that range from protecting national parks and community forests to strengthening water management and building climate resilience.
To date, GEF has funded project in over 165 countries to the tune of US$12.5 billion. Since the GEF pilot phase, Namibia has received over US$57 million in financial support for 28 projects.
UNDP resident representative Anita Kiki Gbeho highlighted that the international community is concerned about poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife.
“The recently adopted sustainable development goals particularly SDG 15 and the UN general assembly’s resolution on tackling illegal trafficking in wildlife are clear expressions of this concern.
“In Africa, over 20 000 elephants were reported killed in 2013 while over 1300 rhinos were killed in 2015. Here in Namibia poaching of rhinos and elephants continues to be a serious concern with Government through the MET together with the armed forces pro actively and aggressively tacking this extremely serious challenge,” she said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015