Thanks to Namibia’s hard work in recent years to curb wildlife crime through enforcement of the law and conservation efforts, rhino poaching has dropped by 33% in the last year.
“Conservation agencies have had time to try out responses and work out the most effective strategies, [such as the] use of canine patrols – they can’t be bribed and can be trained on multiple scents, including spent ammunition, not just horn,” says Cathy Dean, CEO of Save the Rhino International. “The long-term plan has to be to ensure that the presence of rhinos in protected areas benefits enough people for rhino populations to thrive.”
From 2019 to 2020, only 30 African rhinos have been poached in Namibia. In 2015, at the historical peak of rhino poaching, 97 were killed. The country increased the maximum fines for poaching from $13,000 to $1.8 million. Also, the prison sentences went from 20 to 25 years. And finally, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism launched Operation Blue Rhino, and after two years of operation, more than 700 poachers and traffickers were charged. Namibia recognizes that poaching is no longer solely a conservation problem. It impacts the socio-economic development of the country.