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26th January 2015 Sapa

The Namibian government will beef up protection for rhinos and elephants and tighten laws to curb increased poaching, which suddenly surged last year, it said on Monday.

 

“We must increase patrols on the ground which requires more manpower and equipment for the staff,” said Colgar Sikopo, director of parks and wildlife management in the ministry of environment and tourism (MET).

“We are currently reviewing the old Wildlife Ordinance of 1975 to map out a national strategy on wildlife protection including stiffer sentences for poaching and possession of wildlife products.

“We will strengthen co-operation with neighbouring countries with regard to wildlife protection and related information,” he said.

The ministry had called for a conference with stakeholders, including the private sector, to stem poaching.

“We are here to review and update our strategies and to collectively address is challenge our country is facing,” said Simeon Negumbo, permanent secretary in the ministry.

“We are hard at work to establish a ‘wildlife protection services’ division in the ministry.”

Namibia lost 76 elephants and 24 rhinos to poachers last year, according to official figures.

Three elephants in north eastern Namibia were poached since the start of this year.

SAPA.