Namibia: Surge in black rhino poaching in June, ministry says

The environment ministry says 11 black rhinos were recently killed and their horns removed.

Rhinos walking and grazing.
Africa's rhino population has been decimated over the decades to feed demand for rhino horn in East Asia [File: Reuters]

The Namibian government has said the country recorded an increase in rhino poaching cases in June after the discovery of 11 carcasses in less than two weeks.

Environment Ministry Spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said in a statement on Tuesday that 11 black rhinos had been killed recently in Etosha National Park, Namibia’s largest. Their horns had been removed.

Namibia, home to the only free-roaming black rhinos left in the world, has recorded 22 cases of rhino poaching since the beginning of the year, compared with 43 in all of 2021 and 40 in 2020.

“This is regrettable and a strong indication that the fight against poaching is not over,” Muyunda said.

Rhino poaching has plagued southern Africa for decades, especially in neighbouring 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 the 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.

Namibia is home to the second-largest white rhino population in the world after South Africa and also accounts for a third of the world’s remaining black rhinos.

The Save the Rhino Trust estimates there are just more than 200 free-roaming black rhinos in Namibia, mainly in the northeast.

Source: News Agencies