Punishing rhino poachers much more severely stops them

Rhino SA

NEWS AND OPINION: Rhino poaching has fallen by 63% in Namibia because fines dished out to poachers on their conviction have increased from 200,000 Namibian dollars to 25 million Namibian dollars which is the equivalent of £1.1 million. Also, jail terms have increased.

Rhino SA

Rhino in South Africa. Photo by Casey Allen from Pexels

The number of rhinos poached has fallen in the year from 46 cases to 17 according to the environment ministry in Namibia. Elephant poaching has also decreased from 13 incidents to just two.

Comment: isn’t there a lesson to be learned here? If this really is true and if the punishments have played a major role in curbing poaching of these iconic species then this deterrent should be rolled out across the continent of Africa. It does, however, require great enforcement.

Although, my impression is on reading stories about poaching in Africa the authorities are doing much more nowadays to curb it with increased patrols and therefore better enforcement.

I hate to say it but softer penalties have always been due to undervaluing wildlife on the continent and perhaps corruption has played a part. There are competing interests. African states can make quite a lot of money from trophy hunters shooting their iconic species e.g. lion, leopard, giraffe and elephant. This revenue is attractive to greedy officials. That motivator is counteracted by officials who are more concerned about the long-term benefits of wildlife in their country in terms of financial revenue from tourists and conservation.

Africa has two great assets (1) their wonderful wildlife, the best on the planet and (2) their minerals and precious metals. Both are being exploited by the Chinese who have moved into Africa in large numbers. The Chinese want the body parts of these animals for their traditional Chinese medicine and the ivory. They also want the precious metals for their high-tech manufacturing industries such as manufacturing Apple iPhones et cetera.

African leaders need to be savvy to exploitation by the Chinese.