More than 50 elephant tusks confiscated (Namibia)


Albertina Nakale, New Era

Date Published

Since March the Namibian police have confiscated a total of 57
elephant tusks, 60 unlicensed firearms and 151 rounds of ammunition,
in the course of which 16 persons were arrested, the police revealed
on Wednesday.

Deputy Police Inspector General for Operations James Tjivikua,
speaking of the police’s anti-poaching activities, said also they also
seized a vehicle used in suspected illicit activities.

Further, he said, during intensive foot and vehicle patrols, as well
as an aerial game count in the operation areas, they discovered 32
elephant carcasses. On closer inspection, it was found that the
majority of carcasses were relatively old.

It was later confirmed that 11 of the carcasses were in fact poached
during unspecified periods and that the remaining 21 elephants died as
result of natural mortality.

Tjivikua, who is undertaking regional visits to Kavango East and
Zambezi on the ongoing anti-poaching campaign, ‘Operation Elephant
Tusk’ in the Bwabwata, Nkasa Rupara and Mudumo national parks, said
the work is progressing well and will continue unabated.

Following the latest incidents wherein four elephants were killed on
Thursday night at Kasika Conservancy in the Zambezi Region,
preliminary investigations show that the suspects later crossed into
Zambia and it is thus assumed that the perpetrators are Zambian

This was said by Ministry of Environment and Tourism spokesperson
Romeo Muyunda, who described the escalating number of poaching cases
as “unfortunate”. Among the four poached elephants at Kasika Village,
east of Katima Mulilo, two were elephant bulls and two elephant cows.

Muyunda confirmed that the ministry’s staff responded rapidly to the
most recent incident and found that all the tusks had been removed
from the elephant.

Tjivikua attributed the problem in the Zambezi Region to the length of
Namibia’s unfenced borders with Zambia and Botswana. As the elephant
population is not confined by national boundaries there is constant
movement of large herds between neighbouring countries.

‘This tragic incident has necessitated the law enforcement agencies to
re-strategise their deployment strategy and the modus operandi. This
case is under intense investigation,” he said.

He moreover urged the public to continue providing information related
to poaching activities to the police and environment ministry
officials, while giving assurances that such information will be
treated with a high degree of confidentiality. “We must remain
vigilant and continue to protect our heritage, as poaching is
detrimental to our economy,” he said.

The police have once again put up a reward of N$60 000 for any
reliable information leading to the arrest of people involved in
poaching activities.

Operation Elephant Tusk, that started on June 16 and concludes today
was headed by Kavango East Police Regional Commander Johanna Ngondo.

The next phase, under the leadership of Zambezi Police Regional
Commander Boniface Mukendwa, is due to start Friday and end on
December 15.