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40 Namibian Environmental Groups Petition China to Stop Exploitation of Wildlife

| Mark J. Palmer
Topics: Captivity Industry, Dolphin and Whale Trade, Dolphins, Orcas

A group of 40 Namibian environmental organizations delivered an Open Letter to the Ambassador of China on December 21, 2016.  The letter criticizes the Chinese government’s lack of action against poaching operations ongoing in Namibia perpetrated by Chinese nationals.  

“While we deplore xenophobic attitudes and the profiling of people,” states the letter, “too many Chinese nationals have abused Namibia’s environmental laws and values...”

The letter cites such ongoing problems as captures, killings and exports of elephants, rhinos, and pangolins; poaching of shellfish; and imports from China of monofilament nets to catch fish (and which entangle non-target species).

As the International Marine Mammal Project has publicized over the past few months, “…Chinese nationals have proposed to capture marine mammals and seabirds for the Asian aquarium market.  The Namibian scientific and environmental communities have strongly rejected this proposal on sound conservation and ethical grounds, as has the Namibian public.”

Particularly frustrating is the Chinese government’s own lack of action against nationals and organized crime syndicates operating poaching rings in Namibia.  “China has a policy of non-intervention and yet these actions by some Chinese nationals, and the apparent inaction of your embassy to address the problem, are direct and indirect interventions that have disastrous impacts on our (Namibian) policy and legal framework, on our environmental culture and ethics, on our natural heritage and on our national conservation and development programs.”

The letter was signed by Dr. Chris Brown, CEO of the Namibia Chamber of Environment, and endorsed by a number of grassroots Namibian environmental organizations and tourism companies.

While the proposal for captures of orcas, dolphins, seals and penguins has apparently been dropped by the Chinese and Russian company proposing those captures for the aquarium industry, continued poaching of animals in Namibia remains a serious problem, and not just in Namibia.  China in particular is a magnet in illegal wildlife trade, and the Chinese government has been slow to react.

View the full letter here.