Palmwag Concession: Rhino Safety and Illegal Farmers on the Concession
A series of stakeholders’ consultation meetings took place between April and May to deal with a potentially alarming situation where cattle farmers have moved into the concession illegally for grazing because of the recent drought. The situation was for some time handled leniently by both the Big 3 Conservancies and the Traditional Authorities in light of the pressing drought situation. This leniency however was exploited by individuals with ill intentions and the safety of wildlife including the black rhino was severely compromised to the extent that Rhino poaching incidents have escalated over a very short period. Sadly preliminary investigations discovered that the illegal cattle farmers on the concession as well as in neighbouring conservancies are in a way linked to the poaching incidents. This concern was discussed by the stakeholders immediately and action taken to evict the illegal farmers while lawyers were tasked to use the legal route to deal with matter in a fair and un-politicised way.
The Legal Assistance Centre lawyers have been instructed by the Big 3 in consultation with all stakeholders to deal with the matter. The Wilderness Safaris team took part in all meetings and contributed to the catering of one of the meetings held at Warmquelle.
Stationery donation rollout
The initiative by learners of the Deutsche Höhere Privatschule in Windhoek to donate stationery and maize meal to needy schools and communities was recently completed when stationery was delivered recently to Otjikondavirongo Primary School. The school is situated in the remote Kaokoland and mainly caters for the children of the Ovahimbas from the surrounding area. The school has a longstanding relationship with Wilderness Safaris through Children in The Wilderness as in the past some their learners have attended CITW camps.
A Joint Management Committee meeting was recently held with the Torra Conservancy committee at Damaraland Camp. Amongst the issues that were discussed were: vehicle maintenance costs, acknowledging Damaraland Camp’s assistance with the catering for the conservancy AGM, the growing human-wildlife conflict and the Conservancy’s concern about the situation and the good rains received in the area.
Ovahimba producing perfume in Marienfluss Conservancy
The success of conservation and the conservancy model in the Kunene Region continues to create world class opportunities for the Marienfluss Conservancy, our long standing partner. Along with other conservancies in the Kunene region and through assistance from NGOs, Marienfluss has ventured into the uncharted industry of extracting and processing oils from traditional Ovahimba shrubs and trees to produce perfumes and other cosmetic products. The use of traditional knowledge of the Ovahimba women from the conservancies in the area has resulted in sustainable harvesting of gum from the Commiphora plants collected by the local women for a fee, then processed in Opuwo to extract oils used for the making of perfumes. The extracted oil is then sold to manufacturers of perfume and other cosmetic products both in Namibia and abroad. Through donor funding the initiative has grown to such an extent that the conservancies eventually realised their dream of opening a Processing Plant in Opuwo. This initiative helps diversify income to the Marienfluss Conservancy whose main income currently is from tourism, particularly from Wilderness Safaris’ operation of the Serra Cafema camp. The Conservancy invited Wilderness Safaris to the official opening of the plant in Opuwo and Wilderness Safaris Namibia is proud to say that this venture is supported by all of the curio shops in the group.