28 Namibian Rhinos Poached in First 3 Months of 2024

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. As the Africa Desk Chief for Atlas, her expertise spans conflict, politics, and history. She is also the Editor for The ModernInsurgent and has interests in yoga and meditation.

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What You Need to Know: 

Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism has today announced that 28 rhinos have been poached in the country since January. The figure includes five poachings which occurred on private farms, 3 poachings at a rhino custodianship farm and one poaching which occurred in the wild. 

19 rhinos were poached inside of Etosha National Park, one of the largest national parks in Africa, which is particularly concerning according to Romeo Muynda, spokesman for the Ministry of Environment. 

On the basis of the current situation and the urgency, an assessment is being undertaken in Etosha to establish the full extent of the problem.” 

The Details:

Etosha National Park has carried out extensive conservation practices for more than 100 years, specifically in the conservation of the black and white rhinos, with the latest poachings discovered in March as park rangers began dehorning operations. 

Furthermore, anti-poaching patrols by foot, vehicles, and drones are regularly conducted alongside fencing maintenance. Thus the loss of 19 rhinos in the park is a worrying development. 

According to Save the Rhino, poaching in Namibia almost doubled in 2022, with 87 rhinos being killed in comparison to 45 in 2021. 

As a result, the Ministry for Environment opened an investigation into the staff at Etosha National Park. 

The threat of poachings being ‘inside jobs’ is very real. Last week, three members of the Namibian Defence Force were arrested after being found in Mangetti National Park with bags of dried eland, kudu, and wildebeest meat. 

The soldiers did not have a permit to be inside the park but were a part of the force deployed to the park.  

So, What Now?:

There is a lucrative ivory market in Asia, which sources much of its horns from Africa, using the Middle East, specifically Dubai as a transit point. As previously reported, it is much harder for investigations to be conducted once the illicit ivory reaches Dubai and thus efforts bear more fruit if the ivory is seized before it leaves the country. However, with poaching conducted in a ‘hit and run’ manner, tracing the ivory once a rhino is found dead is extremely difficult due to the expansive nature of the parks.