Namibia: Africa's Conservation Success Story

Namibia, which has one of the largest black rhino populations in the world, recorded fewer cases of poaching in 2017 compared to recent years. Simon Eeman/Shutterstock

While much of Africa continues to face an unprecedented poaching crisis, there's one African country that serves as a conservation success story.

Namibia, which is located on the southern part of the continent, is the only African country where wildlife numbers are actually growing. Namibia recently announced that the country has recorded fewer rhino and elephant poaching incidents in 2017 compared to previous years.

Namibia, which has one of the largest black rhino populations in the world, reported that 27 rhinos were poached this year, compared to 60 in 2016 and 95 in 2015. As for elephants, 20 have been poached in 2017 compared to 101 in 2016 and 49 in 2015.

“More resources have been allocated to fight poaching, more government agencies, non-governmental organizations, private sector, international development partners, communities and the general public have come on board to support our efforts to stop poaching,” minister of environment and tourism Pohamba Shifeta said.

The road to success in Namibia

Elephants in Namibia's Etosha National Park
Elephants in Namibia, where there have been fewer reported poaching incidents than in past years. WJRVisuals/Shutterstock

It's a relatively new country, having gained independence in 1990, and it was the first African country to incorporate environmental protection into its constitution.

The Namibian government gave its people the opportunity to manage natural resources through communal conservancies. In cooperation with the government and nonprofit organizations, these conservancies have worked to protect land and wildlife.

Today, more than 43 percent of Namibia is under conservation management, and the country is home to the world's largest cheetah population, as well as flourishing populations of lions, black rhinos, zebras and other native wildlife.

Tourism has played a large role in the country's conservation success by generating sustainable income for local communities, and the people of Namibia have come together to protect the resources that draw nearly a million tourists a year.

To learn more about Namibia's conservation success, check out the World Wildlife Fund videos below.

See how local communities are protecting Namibia's wildlife:

This video tells the story of Jantjie Rhyn, a Namibian farmer who's committed to protecting wildlife despite the dangers they present: