Namibia saw a continued downward trend in rhino and elephant poaching last year after stepping up patrols and sharply increasing fines, the government said on Thursday.
Spokesman of the environment ministry, Romeo Muyunda cited intensified intelligence operations by authorities and collaboration between the government and the private sector, stating that 30 rhinos had been poached last year compared with 50 in 2019 and 79 in 2018.
Only 11 elephants were poached in 2020 compared with 13 a year earlier.
“The reduction is attributed to many factors, one of them is increased patrols by our staff,” Muyunda said.
Efforts put by the police, central intelligence, members of the public, civil society and the private sector have helped turn the tide against poachers.
The southern nation has increased fines for poaching to 25 million Namibian dollars ($1.66 million) from 200,000 and increased prison sentences from 20 to 25 years.
According to the non-profit organization, Save the Rhino Trust, Namibia is home to the second-largest white rhino population in the world after South Africa
The country holds one-third of the world’s remaining black rhinos and is also home to the only free-roaming black rhinos in the world, estimated to over 200.
Rhino poaching has plagued southern Africa for decades, especially in South Africa and Botswana, leading to anti-poaching programmes, including de-horning and strict policing.
Africa’s rhino population has been decimated over the decades to feed demand for rhino horn, which, despite being made of the same stuff as hair and fingernails, is prized in East Asia as a supposed medicine and as jewellery.