Namibia clamps down on poaching in national parks

There’s been a rise in poaching in Southern Africa in recent years. Hunters are killing rare animals and selling their pelts, ivory, and other body parts to a multibillion dollar international network of dealers. The southwestern African nation of Namibia, however, has managed to avoid this trend.

This is due to strong criminal penalties and new measures implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, with help from the United Nations. Namibia earns six percent of its GDP from people visiting the parks, which are rich in wildlife and beautiful scenery. Protecting the environment is a smart financial move in this developing nation, and because of this the government has more than tripled the parks’ budget in the past four years. Other African nations like Niger and Chad are hoping to cash in on the profitable safari business too, and are also cracking down on poaching.

The ministry has been hiring more staff to patrol the parks and supplying them with training and equipment. In Etosha National Park the government is setting up a radio communications system and has supplied the staff with boats so they can reach a part of the park that is cut off during the rainy season. This area didn’t get many patrols before and poachers had been taking advantage of this.

Etosha is one of Africa’s biggest and most popular national parks. Covering 22,750 square kilometers, it is home to lion, elephants, rhino, zebra–all in high demand on the illegal animal market–and hundreds of other species.