Namibia: Boost for Save the Rhino Trust

THE Debmarine-Namdeb Foundation will be sponsoring three vehicles to the value of N$1,5 million to Save the Rhino Trust for use in its anti-poaching activities.

This was said by Simson Uri-khob, the chief executive officer of the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) during the World Rhino Day celebrations, which also coincided with the 35th anniversary of the SRT recently.

"As CEO of Save the Rhino Trust, it is my honour to personally convey our gratitude for the support and cooperation we have been receiving from Debamarine Namibia and Namdeb," said Uri-Khob.

World Rhino Day is celebrated on 22 September every year and this day provides the opportunity for organisations around the world to raise awareness against rhino poaching and illegal trade in rhino horn.

This year SRT celebrated 35 years of consistent hard work in a very challenging and tough environment to save the endangered rhino.

From the point of near extinction, the rhino population has rebounded as the trust has scored great success in reducing poaching in the Kunene region and has seen the rhino population triple since its inception.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said on Monday incidents of rhino poaching had dropped significantly in the country with 27 rhinos poached so far this year compared to 60 in 2016 and 95 in 2015.

"However, we could not do this without the support of our generous donors," said the SRT in a media statement.

"These vehicles will contribute to our ability to patrol and monitor the area and update the largest and longest running database of these animals. Furthermore, SRT conducts joint patrols with key law enforcement officers, provide enforcement support and training and assist with the investigation of poaching incidents," Uri-Khob said.

The extremely erroneous belief by some people that rhino horns have medicinal properties has brought all rhino species to the edge of extinction.

Wildlife organisations face an uphill battle against highly sophisticated and pervasive poachers. Protecting some of the most at risk animals on the planet requires considerable resources, significant aid and enduring dedication, he said.

"We operate in a remote, rugged area of more than a million hectares, with few fences, no national park status and no controls over who goes in or out. Working closely with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, local communities and NGOs by the end of 2011, Namibia's north-west black rhino population had more than quadrupled since SRT's inception.

Our dedicated teams of trackers go out on daily patrols to monitor this last truly free-ranging population of black rhino in the world. Winning this battle is only possible if we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded individuals and organisations to ensure criminals do not destroy a large part of Namibia's natural heritage" said Uri-Khob.

Debmarine Namibia CEO Otto Shikongo said: "As we celebrate World Rhino Day, we pay tribute to the men and women in law enforcement, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and our partners, SRT, for their continued efforts to safeguard our precious rhinos for posterity.

"As a company involved in mining, we uphold sustainability as our focal success point. Nowhere is sustainability more critical than in the natural environment. We protect our wildlife and vegetation, which in turn are essential for the continued survival of humans. We wish SRT well with their endeavours, and trust that the vehicles will make a big difference in the battle to protect the rhino."

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