A regional anti-poaching operation by the Namibian Police in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, code-named Elephant Tusk, has recorded major successes.
The operation, incepted in 2013 and which is ongoing, is targeting the Bwabwata, Mudumo and Nkasa Rupara national parks in western Zambezi.
The parks are home to thousands of elephants and many other wild animals. Recently there has been a resurgence of poaching activities in the Zambezi, particularly among protected species such as elephants that continue to bear the brunt of merciless poachers who want to cash in on the illicit but highly lucrative ivory trade.
Major-General James Tjivikua, who is the police deputy inspector-general of operations, commended the operation on Monday.
“Since January this year seven suspected poachers were detained for poaching and unlawful possession of 18 elephant tusks. On Friday last week, three suspects were arrested for unlawful possession of seven elephant tusks and the vehicle used in the poaching was impounded. The suspects will appear in court in Katima Mulilo,” said Tjivikua, who visited Zambezi to acquaint himself with the operation first hand.
In light of the successes so far recorded, Tjivikua was confident the operation would ultimately achieve its intended primary objective.
“The purpose of the visit was also to motivate and boost the morale of commanders and members who have been deployed in this operation. As you might be aware there was speculation in the media that protected species, particularly elephants in the region, are on the verge of extinction. Poaching in these national parks has been reduced considerably since then,” he said.
Tjivikua said that a cash reward of N$60 000 was being offered to members of the public for information that may lead to the arrest of poachers.
“I call upon the public, indunas, ngambelas and chiefs to continue providing information pertaining to poaching activities to NamPol or officials of environment and tourism. We want their cooperation and support, to succeed in this endeavour,” implored Tjivikua.