Poachers killed 12 rhinos in Namibia’s Etosha National Park and in north-western Kunene region so far this year, authorities said.
Seven rhino carcasses were discovered in Etosha, a prime tourist attraction, between February and April 7. “These cases bring the total of eleven poached rhinos in Etosha since October to date,” Simeon Negumbo, permanent secretary in ministry of environment and tourism said in an e-mailed statement. In Kunene, five poached rhinos were discovered from February to date, he said.
Poachers also slaughtered 11 elephants this year in north-eastern Zambezi and Kavango east regions.
“The ministry together with the Namibian police are investigating all these new cases of rhino and elephant poaching,” Negumbo said. The ministry has increased patrol teams and intensified ground and aerial patrols in all areas where elephant and rhino poaching is rife.
Poachers killed 23 rhinos and 76 elephants last year in Namibia, Romeo Muyunda, ministry spokesman said on Jan. 16. The country’s rhino population is under threat from poachers who kill the animals for their horns, to be used chiefly in traditional Asian medicines, according to the World Wide Fund to Nature.
About 1,750 black rhinos live in Namibia, out of a global population of 4,800, along with 469 white rhinos, according to Save the Rhino and WWF.