Namibia dehorns rhino

2014-11-17 20:51
Phila, a black rhino cow who has been shot at least nine times in two poaching attempts, has been moved to the Johannesburg Zoo. (Bongiwe Gumede, Beeld)

Phila, a black rhino cow who has been shot at least nine times in two poaching attempts, has been moved to the Johannesburg Zoo. (Bongiwe Gumede, Beeld)

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Windhoek - Namibian environmental authorities embarking on a de-horning exercise for black rhino have already spotted three carcasses left behind by poachers, an official said on Monday.

The removal of the horns of live animals in remote areas started about a month ago in a bid to save Namibia's black rhino population from the hands of poachers.

"Since the start of the de-horning exercise, progress has been made but we are not done yet," environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda told a Sapa correspondent on Monday.

Muyunda declined to reveal how many black rhino have been de-horned so far due to the sensitivity of the matter.

During the de-horning operation, air-tracking teams spotted three black rhino carcasses in the area last week while looking for live animals to be darted for horn removal.

The discovery of the three carcasses without their horns brings the total of poached rhinos in Namibia to 18 this year so far. Three of the 18 animals were white rhino shot and killed on a commercial farm.

After virtually no incidents for over a decade, rhino poaching in Namibia has increased since 2009, with officially 26, mostly black, rhino poached so far.

Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga called for "lifelong sentences for poachers" last week, at a hand over of 30 newly built houses for staff of Namibia's world famous Etosha National Park.

Namibia is home to about 1800 black rhino, which mostly live outside nature parks in the scenic north western areas of Kaokoland and Damaraland.

Earlier this year three Chinese nationals were arrested at Namibia's Hosea Kutako International Airport 40kmeast of Windhoek with 14 rhino horns in their possession.

They were remanded in custody and bail was refused in the Windhoek high court.

Read more on:    namibia  |  southern africa  |  conservation  |  rhino poaching
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