Wildlife crime arrests drop

By Rosalia David

WILDLIFE crime cases have decreased from six recorded between 16 and 22 March to only one between 23 and 29 March, according to statistics provided by the intelligence and investigation unit in the Ministry of Environment and the protected resource division in the Safety and Security Ministry.

According to the most recent wildlife crime statistics report, only one new case was registered last week on the basis of which two suspects were arrested and charged. The two, Mbakondja Tjatindi and Matias Kaurikengererua, were arrested for rhino poaching/trafficking and conspiracy to poach rhino.

According to the report, the suspects were arrested and charged at Oshakati for contravening the Arms and Ammunition of 1996, contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956 and conspiracy to hunt specially protected game (rhino) on 26 March.

Goods including one .303 hunting rifle and several rounds of ammunition.

Meanwhile, Chinese national Yi Chen Yu, alongside Namibians Absalom Fillemon, Nghiyelepo Edward and Paavo Ndawedwa Nepembe was on trial in Omaruru Magistrates Court from 23 to 29 March after they were caught with two rhino horns.

Petrus Iipinge,  Pendapala Paulus Herman, Ludwig Ndinelago Nangolo alongside an Angolan resident, Fortunato Jose Queta, also appeared in court in Windhoek during the same time but were granted bail of N$30,000 each. The suspects were found in possession of 33 rhino horns.

In Okahandja, Kandje Ngumbi, Kunouwa Seven Tjambiru and Lubasi Mufaya appeared in court after they were arrested with one .303 hunting rifle and 31 rounds of ammunition. All accused persons are still in custody.

Between 9 and 15 March a large number of pangolin scales (611) were also seized along with five pangolin skin pieces. Leonard Nekare was arrested in Rundu on 10 March for possession of one pangolin skin, five pangolin skin pieces and 611 pangolin scales. He was then charged for contravening the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act.

Another Namibian male, Jairus Shaalukeni, was arrested in Okahao on 12 March for contravening the Nature Conservation Ordinance 4 of 1975 through illegal hunting of specially protected game (rhino), trespassing in the game park and contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act.

He was also charged for unauthorised supply of arms or ammunition and conspiracy to hunt specially protected game (rhino).

The report further shows that, there were a total of three new wildlife crime cases registered recently, with nine suspects arrested and charged. Meanwhile four suspects were arrested on rhino poaching, trafficking cases (including cases of conspiracy to poach rhino). One warthog carcass and one live pangolin were also seized, although no firearms, vehicles or ammunition were seized between 9 and 15 March.

Between 2 and 8 March six people were arrested and charged for wildlife crimes. In that case two elephant tusk pieces, two oryx carcasses, four live tortoises and one vehicle were seized.