Ministry of Safety and Security: Namibian Police


New Era

Date Published

The Namibian Police Force is greatly perturbed about an article in the
Insight Magazine of January 2017 written by Frederico Links, titled
Poaching Exposing Everyone. Apart from the fact that the article is
vexatious and lacks details, claims and assertions contained therein
are untrue and unreasonable.

Response: The reality is that while an armchair pundit has the laxity
of sitting back and assessing an issue from a controlled and ideal
atmosphere, officers on the ground and those who are actively involved
in dealing with these issues push through serious challenges in an
often testing environment to serve this country and protect its

Currently Namibia holds the second largest population of Rhinoceros in
the world, including the world’s largest population of black
Rhinoceros. The world’s largest contiguous Elephant population of
about 250 000 Elephants can be found within the Kavango Zambezi
Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), with about 16 000 in
North-eastern Namibia. Securing the safety of these animals is a huge
responsibility, which involves securing an impressive 20 state-run
networks of Protected Areas (PAs) which covers over about 17% of the
country’s land surface, and porous border areas.

The proclamation of most protected areas in Namibia predated the
emergence of biodiversity conservation science. During the last two
decades, Namibia experienced remarkable recovery of all large mammals,
including Rhinoceros and Elephants, through commendable and innovative
interventions by Government, such as Community Based Natural Resources
Management (CBNRM). We are not infallible and we also do not claim to
have the best and most watertight system in place, but to label our
efforts ‘upgradeable cluelessness’ is certainly a fallacy.

We do not deny the fact that of recent, Namibia experienced
unprecedented levels of poaching of particularly Rhinoceros and
Elephants species in our National Parks. We also recognize that
wildlife crime in Namibia has reached a new quality of violence and an
enhanced frequency of incidences. Well organised armed gangs enter
vulnerable areas, crime syndicates organise the trafficking of horns
and tusks through complex networks, leading to foreign markets. Yet,
the law enforcement agencies are determined and prepared for the task
to curb this menace.

Faced with severe poaching threats involving external criminal
syndicates, we have adopted a National strategy to Wildfire Protection
and Law Enforcement for 2016-2020, which is effectively in force. It
entails undisclosed number of National Strategy Objectives, Strategic
Approach, Community Care and Engagement, Stakeholder Engagement and
Coordination Initiatives coupled to a number of specific Activities.

Hence, we have also deployed quite a number of anti-poaching
contingents in the National Parks. We are also cognisant of the fact
that, the Nature Conversation Ordinance, 1975 (No. 4 of 1975) has been
under revision and for some time and that the Protected Areas and
Wildlife Management Bill urgently needs to be promulgated.

Importantly, in accordance with the strategic Approach, the need to
establish a Wildlife Protection Service Division (Anti-Poaching Unit)
within the Ministry of Environment and Tourism with the abilities,
motivation and dedication that match or exceed that of the poachers
they are up to against and this is to be realized very soon.

Our efforts in the fight against poaching have been quite the opposite
of ‘numb’ as the ill-informed author suggests. Unprecedented
resources, manpower and multi-stakeholder efforts have been dedicated
to this task, which have resulted in considerable statistical success
which has been recorded over the last three consecutive years, viz: