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4 held in Namibia for killing of endangered black rhino

07 September 2016, 15:24 News24 Correspondent

Windhoek - Four suspected poachers have been arrested following the killing of an endangered black rhino in a private reserve in Namibia where the authorities are keen to smash increasingly-dangerous poaching syndicates, the environment ministry has confirmed.

The rhino was poached at Erindi Private Game reserve in central Namibia last week, said Pohamba Shifeta, the environment and tourism minister, in a statement this week.

The four were among a number of "heavily-armed" poaching suspects arrested between Friday and Sunday.

The Namibian newspaper reported this week that tourists stumbled across the carcass of the rhino in the reserve. It had already been dehorned. Rhinos are targeted for their horn, which is powdered down and used in traditional Asian medicine.

One of those arrested in connection with the Erindi reserve poaching is understood to be a former police officer.

This latest killing takes the number of known rhino fatalities in Namibia to 38 so far this year.

In 2015, Namibia lost 125 rhino to poachers, according to the New Era newspaper.

South Africa lost around 1 200 in the same period. Neighbouring Zimbabwe - which has a smaller rhino population of around 700 - lost around 50. 

The authorities there have embarked on an ambitious programme to dehorn all rhinos living in the country's national parks, News24 reported this week. 

A senior ecologist for Zimbabwe's national parks authority Colum Zhuwawo told Wednesday's official Herald newspaper that a side-effect of South Africa's ramped-up efforts to protect its rhinos from poachers "could make Zimbabwe [rhinos] a target."

- News24


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