By Arlana Shikongo, The Namibian
The ministry of environment says its anti-poaching activities will not be hindered by the rapidly spreading coronavirus, which has forced many countries, Namibia included, into a lockdown.
This was said by ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda on Monday, in response to a query regarding the low number of wildlife crimes reported during the past week from 23 to 29 March.
“Our anti-poaching activities will not be affected by this situation. In fact, we are stepping up,” Muyunda said.
He said more officers are being deployed around the country, and the ministry’s patrols and intelligence will also be intensified.
The weekly wildlife crime report, which is jointly compiled by the environment ministry’s intelligence and investigation unit and the Namibian Police’s protected resources division, detailed that only one new case was registered last week.
According to the report, two Namibian suspects were apprehended at Oshakati on Thursday on charges of contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act and the Riotous Assemblies Act. Furthermore, the duo was charged with conspiring to hunt specially protected game, namely rhino.
The police seized one hunting rifle and 43 rounds of ammunition.
Muyunda said despite the lockdown measures now in force in Namibia, the ministry’s anti-poaching security measures would not be compromised.
“We know people will try to take chances because of the lockdown under the assumption that we have scaled down our security detail. The two suspects arrested undermined our capabilities, and this should serve as a warning to those who want to commit similar crimes that we are on full alert. We will get to them,” he said.
According to information provided by Muyunda, Namibia’s current poaching figures for 2020 stand at nine rhinos and one elephant that were illegally killed.