Namibia to establish mounted unit to help curb poaching

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Carved Tusk, c. 1820. Guinea Coast, Nigeria, Benin Kingdom, Edo, 19th century. Ivory; overall: 197.4 cm (77 11/16 in.). (Photo by: Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Namibia is in the process of establishing a special operations unit that will include the use of horses to help curb poaching, an official said on Wednesday.

According to Manie Leroux, who coordinates the K9 unit at the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the mounted unit, which will have 12 horses and 14 members, will work together with the canine unit.

“Anti-poaching efforts need a combination of support,” he said. “We want to add horses patrol to the air, vehicle and dog patrols.”

“We are doing everything we can to get to zero poaching cases,” Leroux said.

“Horses can do about 40 km patrols per day. We will be able to use the element of surprise. You have very good visibility sitting up on a horse…. They can carry more things which a person and dog can’t do,” he said.

The K9 unit, with four working dogs and five handlers, is specialized in the detection of rhino horns, elephant tusks, pangolins, firearms and ammunitions.

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