The number of endangered rhinos poached in Namibia reached an all-time high last year: according to official government figures, 87 animals were killed in 2022, up from 45 in 2021.
The massacre of an animal population that over the decades has been decimated to meet the demand for horns continues like this, and grows drastically: despite being made of the same substance as human hair and nails, the horn is appreciated in East Asia as an alleged medicine and as a jewel.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Romeo Muyunda, specified that poachers killed 61 black and 26 white rhinos, mainly in Namibia’s largest park, Etosha, where 46 rhinos were found dead. “We note with serious concern that our main park, Etosha National Park, is a poaching hotspot,” Muyunda said, adding that the ministry and law enforcement agencies have stepped up efforts to combat crimes against wildlife.
Rhino poaching has plagued southern Africa for decades, especially in neighboring South Africa and Botswana, leading to anti-poaching programs including strict surveillance and de-horning of rhinos to try to deter poaching. On the one bright note, poaching of elephants in Namibia has decreased over the years, from a high of 101 in 2015 to a low of four poached elephants last year.