Rhino conservation in Namibia

Geographical location:

Africa/Madagascar > Southern Africa > Namibia

Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis). Have poor eyesight but acute smell and hearing. Africa.
© WWF-Canon / Martin HARVEY

Summary

Namibia has one of the largest black rhino populations in the world, with a majority found in Etosha National Park. Although their numbers are increasing, the black rhino is still under threat, particularly as its horn is still in demand for traditional Chinese medicine.

WWF is working with Namibia’s wildlife services in Etosha to protect the country’s endangered black rhino population. This is being done through effective security monitoring, better biological management and wildlife-based tourism, with proceeds going directly back into conservation efforts.

Background

Namibia has one of the largest black rhino populations in the world. This represents 97% of the sub-species Diceros bicornis bicorins. About 72 % of the national population is found in Etosha National Park.

The black rhino population has been actively managed and protected to achieve success and has grown to such an extent that it is used as a donor population for other conservation areas in the region. This is an important achievement considering the size of the park and the massive loss of rhino populations that occurred in similar areas in the neighbouring countries of Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia.

This success in conservation could attract potential poachers. Therefore, anti-poaching efforts must be kept high and the capacity and efficiency of the anti-poaching unit improved to cope with the efforts of organised poaching. The strategic approach attempts to enhance the effectiveness of biological and security monitoring by gradually increasing the number of individually known rhinos (by ear-notching) and increasing the frequency and extent of field patrols.

Objectives

Improve the security and biological monitoring of black rhinos in Etosha National Park by providing assistance to the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Solution

- Equip the Wildlife Protection Service staff.

- Purchase GPS units to obtain accurate positions of animals during biological and security monitoring as well as carcass locations in the event of poaching.

- Fund the ear-notching of black rhinos for biological and security monitoring.

- Fund the repair of anti-poaching vehicles to maintain effective security monitoring.

- Finance the upgrading and development of a computer system used to store and analyse biological and security monitoring data.

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