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Mundy, P.J., 1984. Rhinoceros in South and South West Africa. Proceedings of a Workshop held at Pilanesberg Game Reserve, Bophuthatswana, 15 and 16 February 1984. Johannesburg, Endangered Wildlife Trust, pp. 1-25

Location: Africa - Southern Africa - Namibia
Subject: Distribution - Poaching
Species: African Rhino Species

Original text on this topic:
There is no longer a poaching problem. The biggest headache is what to do with the Damaraland and Kaokoland black rhinos - there's a need to disperse them it seems (Joubert). Could any go to arid national parks in the Republic of South Africa? Recent legislation (1982) imposes a fine of R 6000 or 6 years imprisonment or both for illegally hunting a black rhino. Several rhinos died in the drought.
However, South West Africa had a very serious poaching problem until one year ago - therefore anti-poachinq activities need to be maintained. Even the Etosha rhinos are not necessarily safe - 3 poached animals were found in 1983, from the air, and one wonders how many were missed. As there is a good chance of poaching starting up again the Department of Agriculture and Nature Conservation should set up a specialist anti-poaching group.
The Damaraland rhinos are unusua1 in their desert adaptations, and although they are state-owned they actually live on communal land - they comprise a unique population and they should be conserved in situ. This principle must have priority over translocation - the Damaras are not anti-conservation, they are simply not interested in handing over their land to the South West African state authorities. [Owen-Smith].
Recent hunting has been done by gangs, especially Hereros, moving south from Kaokoland. The meat from the rhinos is not used, only the horns taken. The horns are taken to Windhoek and sold. Since the Namibia Wildlife Trust/ Endangered Wildlife Trust desert project began in April 1982, five cases of rhino poaching have gone to court, involving 11 people, and a maximum sentence of R3000 and three years in prison. The last rhino known to be poached was in March 1983. There have been several more cases involving other wildlife, particularly elephant. Unfortunately, all the cases have been against the poachers themselves and certain middlemen, but not anyone higher.
There is a great need for more Department of Agriculture and Nature Conservation manpower in the area. Meanwhile the Namibia Wildlife Trust/ Endangered Wildlife Trust system of `auxiliaries' (Herero observers or informants set up by their headmen) has been outstandingly successful in anti-poaching activities.
The argument that rhinos cannot be protected outside of nature conservation areas, and particularly not in farming areas (because the rhinos use the water holes used by livestock), does not apply to the desert rhinos as most of them do not live on farm land (in communal area) anyway. The few that do live on farm land, outside (i.e. south and east) of the `red line' (foot-and-mouth veterinary fence), could in fact be tranbslocated to the area inside (the concession zone). Rhinos in the area have not been shot because of their `nuisance' value to herdsmen but because of their horns - that is, for their economic value. In the 1970's, Kaokoland lost its rhinos, and elephants, because there was no Department of Agriculture and Nature Conservation manpower in the area, not even any law and order, and some of the people involved in the poaching were of high standing [Owen Smith]. The Department was allowed into the area by legislation only in 1980; prior to that the R.S.A.'s Department of bantu Affairs controlled Kaokoland.

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