Namibia reports record level of rhino poaching

The number of endangered rhinos poached in Namibia last year was the highest on record and nearly doubled the previous year, officials said.

A total of 87 rhinos have been killed compared to 45 in 2021, according to official data.

Most of them were hunted in Etosha, Namibia’s largest national park, officials said.

Rhino numbers in Africa have declined dramatically in recent decades to meet the demand for rhino horns in China and Vietnam.

“We note with serious concern that our flagship park, Etosha National Park, is a poaching hotspot,” Mr Muyunda said.

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International criminal gangs now use sophisticated equipment to track and tranquilise the animals before hacking off the horn, leaving them bleeding to death.

Poaching in South Africa and Botswana has led to wildlife teams sawing off the rhino horns in order to keep them alive.

For many generations rhino horn has been used in traditional Chinese medicine despite there being no proven medical benefit.

Poaching is also being fuelled by demand in Vietnam, where horns are displayed as a sign of wealth.

The most endangered is the black rhino with just over 5,000 still alive.

However, elephant poaching in Namibia has declined from a high of 101 in 2015 to four last year.

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