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Namibia beat illicit wildlife trade with inauguration of canine unit | Coastweek

NAMIB DESERT -- Feral (wild) horses of Namibia have increased with the recent birth of a foal, according to Namibia Wild horse Foundation on Friday. The population had plummeted from 286 in 2013 to the 79 horses still alive today, 80 if the newborn foal is included, the foundation said.  WIKIPEDIA PHOTOS -- GERALD DE BEER

Namibia environment ministry tightens illicit
wildlife trade with inauguration of canine unit

WATERBERG Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibia’s Minister of Environment Pohamba Shifeta on Friday inaugurated a dog protection and law enforcement unit at the Waterberg Plateau National Park.

The park, about 280 km north of Windhoek, capital of Namibia, hosts several of Namibia’s endangered species.

The plateau now supplies other Namibian parks with rare species of wildlife.

Shifeta said the four dogs for the unit were procured from vendors in the Netherlands.

"They were imported to Namibia and immediately began six weeks of acclimation and pre-training by Invictus K9 trainers where a solid foundation in detection and tracking was laid," he said.

The minister said the dogs are trained to search buildings, vehicles, baggage and open areas for firearms, ammunition and illegal wildlife products such as ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales and bush meat.


Namibia wild horses on the brink of extinction give birth to new foal

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- The wild horses of Namibia increased with the recent birth of a foal, according to Namibia Wild horse Foundation on Friday.

The non-profit organization in a statement said, not one foal has survived since 2012 and the introduction of the new foal is a huge step in the survival of the wild horses of the Namib Desert.

"After a five-year drought and continual predation by a pack of hyenas, the Namib horse population has been through a tough time," the foundation added.

In 2013 alone, the hyenas caught and killed a hundred horses, fifty of them are foals.

The population plummeted from 286 to the 79 horses still alive today, 80 if the newborn foal is included, the foundation said.

The foundation further said another foal is also expected this year and others are expected in 2019 and they hope that this is a new beginning for the century-old population that has been hovering on the brink of extinction.

Meanwhile the Namibia Wild Horses Foundation over the past several years has provided feed for the horses to sustain them over the drought period, with generous donations from the public.

Rains bring relief to Namibia's wild horses

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Recent rains in drought-prone Namibia have brought relief to the almost extinct wild horses in the south of the country, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism said on Monday.

"The condition of the horses had improved as the vegetation in the area where they reside had improved," said the minitry's spokesman, Romeo Muyunda.

"We are still busy monitoring the situation, but at the moment we are pleased to announce that the horses are flourishing," Muyunda said.

Last year, the situation was so dire that the ministry set in motion a plan to relocate the horses after several environmental groups expressed concern over their survival.

The wild horses' population declined from 168 in 1984 to 86 in 2017, including 51 stallions and 35 mares.

The horses have been roaming the area for more than 100 years, even before the Namib Naukluft Park Desert was declared a national park.

Namibia's wild horses face a looming drought

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Groups that are concerned with the survival of Namibia's wild horses that roam the desert in the south of the country are appealing for help in the face of a looming drought.

The wild horses' population has declined from 168 in 1984 to 86 in 2017, including 51 stallions and 35 mares.

The horses have been roaming the area for more than 100 years even before the Namib Naukluft Park Desert was declared a national park.

The Aus Lüderitz Business Action Group together with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Aus and Lüderitz fear that if the current dry condition persists, more horses will die.

In a statement Tuesday, the Aus Lüderitz Business Action Group spokespersons Bernd Roemer and Piet Swiegers pleaded with other organizations to urgently deal with the situation.

Roemer and Swieger said the wild horses were being weakened and decimated by the extended drought that has been ravaging the region since 2013.

"No foals have survived since 2012, presenting a generation gap of five years, which will cause a genetic bottleneck in due course.

"It will not be long before the population is functionally extinct," they said.

In addition to the drought, Roemer and Swieger said the spotted hyenas were preying on the wild horses, especially now that the numbers of indigenous game species in the area have also dwindled.

"An immediate, viable and yet affordable short-term solution could be to relocate the clan of hyenas to other areas or nature parks (for instance east of the Fish River) so that the horses get some time to recuperate and start breeding again once the rainfall resumes," they suggested.

Namib wild horse faces extinction as drought persists

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibia Wild Horses Foundation (NWHF) fears that the population of wild horses could soon become extinct, unless drastic measures are urgently taken.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, the foundation stated that the Namib Wild Horses are still battling for survival on the Garub plains in the Namib Naukluft Park, near Aus in the Western parts of the country which has not been receiving much rain over the years.

According to the spokesperson, Inke Stoldt, since 2014 there has been no more than 5mm of rain at any one time on the Garub plains, an amount that is insufficient to promote new grass germination or any significant growth of perennial grass.

"The condition of the remaining horses has fluctuated in the last 23 months, depending on the quality and palatability of the feed supplied.

"Nearly a quarter of the horses has deteriorated dramatically and are in poor or very poor condition, half are in mediocre condition and the rest remain in good condition.

"Many of the horses will not survive," he said.

At present, only 40 mares and 70 stallions fight for survival.

The wild horses are a valuable national asset as they are a major tourism attraction in the area, thus their extinction will negatively impact tourism in the Karas Region and in Namibia in general.

Tourists have identified the Namib Wild Horses as one of the top ten tourist attractions in Namibia, ranking on par with the Fish River Canyon and Kolmanskop Ghost Town.

Namibia to relocate near-extinct wild horses

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibia Wild Horses Foundation (NWHF) Wednesday said Namib Wild horses, facing dwindling population, would be relocated to protect them from predators.

The association said hyenas are threatening the survival of the wild horses in the Garub area of the Namib Naukluft National Park and if the current rate of death continues, the horses might be extinct by August.

NWHF said that the rate of predation has increased significantly during the past two months.

"The number of mares is down to 42 and we estimate that at this rate the population will be 'functionally extinct', some may still be around but it's inevitable that they will go extinct by August," NWHF added.

According to the association, no foal has survived since 2013 and the horse population has steadily dropped.

"Due to the drought, most of the other migratory game has moved north and east looking for greener pastures which leaves mainly only horses to prey on in the Garub area," NWHF said.

The NWHF and the Environment Ministry concluded that a solution that would be best for both the hyenas and the horses is to move the horses.

According to the NWHF, the ideal location would be somewhere near the Garub area where the horses have lived for over 100 years and where they will still be accessible to the public.


Namib Desert Horse is a rare feral horse found in Namib Desert of Namibia, Africa




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