August 2015 – Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT) and Wilderness Safaris have strengthened their shared commitment to securing a future for Namibia’s black rhinos by extending their Memorandum of Understanding for a further five years.
Wilderness Safaris Namibia team signs MoU with SRT Namibia CEO, Simson Uri-Khob, and Ginger Mauney, SRT Trustee, in Windhoek; Tracking black rhino on foot with experienced SRT guides at Desert Rhino Camp
In 2003, SRT and Wilderness Safaris began pioneering responsible rhino tourism through a unique partnership whereby SRT would provide a tracking experience for guests at Wilderness Safaris’ Desert Rhino Camp (DRC).
Tourism income supports the SRT team based at DRC and includes a bed-levy donation. Effectively, tourism provides sustainable funding to ensure all the rhino within the DRC area are consistently monitored; 12 years on, this relationship is more critical than ever. The latest MoU also includes support and cooperation at Wilderness Safaris’ Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp and the Mudorib Gate.
“With poaching intensifying in Namibia, SRT’s relationship with Wilderness Safaris is critical on many levels,” stressed Simson Uri-Khob, CEO of SRT. “Funding from Wilderness allows us to keep another full team of trackers in the field. These trackers monitor rhinos in an important conservation area, raising awareness of the urgent conservation issues facing rhinos with Wilderness Safaris’ international guests; and, critically acting as a deterrent against poaching in these difficult times.”
DRC is situated within the Palmwag Concession in the middle of one of Africa’s last great wilderness areas. SRT has operated in this area since it was founded in 1982 and with the support from local communities, the rhino population has grown and expanded. Wilderness Safaris maintains an exclusive concession area here, with agreements in place with the Big Three conservancies, Torra, Anabeb and Sesfontein, and with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
“There is an important element of security in this exclusive concession agreement,” said Uri-Khob. “We know who should be in the area and who shouldn’t. This helps us protect the rhino.”
“Wilderness Safaris is committed to conservation,” added Mike Wassung, CEO of Wilderness Safaris Namibia. “Our track record of supporting local communities through joint-venture partnerships and providing jobs and training to people who live in the remote areas where we operate helps us to work collectively to uplift communities and that in turn helps to protect Namibia’s natural resources. We are proud of this record and to be a long-term supporter of SRT’s efforts to conserve the world’s last truly wild population of black rhino.”
The partnership between SRT and Wilderness Safaris is a strong example of the importance of Namibia’s private sector and conservation groups working together to protect the country’s natural resources. “We are confident that by working together and strengthening our partnership for at least another five years, we will continue to make a positive contribution to ensure the ongoing survival of our black rhino”, concluded Wassung and Uri-Khob.
To learn more about Save the Rhino Trust Namibia and to get involved in its rhino conservation efforts, click here.