WAZA helps to save the black rhino
Rhino conservation and tourism in Namibia: A new WAZA-branded conservation project
Gland, Switzerland, Thursday 18 August 2011 (WAZA): WAZA
supports the Black Rhino Conservation Programme in Namibia, designed and
implemented by the WAZA member, Minnesota Zoo. Conservation efforts are
combined with tourism development, in cooperation with the government and the
private sector. Conservation of wildlife is not seen as a contradiction to
sustainable community development, the project works in support of both.
Between 1970 and 1992 rampant rhino
poaching swept across Africa, claiming over 95% of Africa's rhinos. Many of the
poachers were local, tempted by lucrative bribes that exceeded a lifetime's
earnings. The incentive to poach was compounded by the fact that they had no
rights to benefit from or manage the wildlife on their lands, and thus had no
real reason to care for it. By the mid-1980s, fewer than 50 black rhinos
were believed to still exist in the remote Kunene region of North-west Namibia.
success and sustainability of the larger vision for securing a future for
Namibia's free-ranging black rhino population in Kunene is currently again threatened
by the recent surge in poaching in neighboring countries. Further, unregulated
rhino-based tourism could act as a double-edged sword by displacing the
free-ranging rhinos into at-risk areas while potentially reducing reproductive
performance as well as the tourism feasibility.
project aims for restoring the rhino population and establishing benefits for
the local people by conservation based touristic activities, the only way for
achieving success together!" says Dr Gerald Dick, WAZA Executive Director. In
collaboration with the Nambian government, Rhino Custodians, private tourism
operators and Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), a communal land rhino monitoring was initiated
and tourism programmes established.
Objectives of the science advisor's (funded
by Minnesota Zoo) responsibilities are:
- In collaboration with the Nambian
government, Rhino Custodians, private tourism operators and SRT, initiate
a communal land rhino monitoring and tourism programme;
- Refine and help implement a new data
management system for SRT that will streamline all field data into a
standardised protocol to enable more effective and efficient reporting,
including rhino monitoring data collected by Rhino Custodians;
- Develop and promote conservation-based
tourism models and approaches related to black rhino;
- Conduct Rapid Black Rhino Restoration
Suitability Assessments within their historical range in the northern
Kunene to assist the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in prioritising
conservancies for rhino translocations in 2011 and 2012;
- Conduct GPS/mapping training modules for
SRT Trackers and Conservancy Game Guards, for Ministry of Environment and
Tourism staff, and for guides working with commercial tourism operators
regarding data collection and monitoring;
- Help expand the base of support to
improve financial self-sufficiency and strengthen SRT's profile and impact
at the regional, national and international level.
This WAZA Conservation Project is implemented by Save the Rhino Trust
Namibia, with support provided by Minnesota Zoo. Other stakeholders involved in
the project include The Nature Conservancy, Namibia's Ministry of Environment
and Tourism, Communal Conservancies, Wilderness Safaris, Save the Rhino
International and US Fish and Wildlife Rhino and Tiger Fund.
Further information on WAZA-branded projects can be found on www.waza.org under "Conservation" or click on the following link: http://www.waza.org/en/site/conservation/waza-conservation-projects/black-rhino-conservation-and-tourism
Fig. 1. Black Rhino © Minnesota Zoo
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Fig. 2. Black Rhino © Minnesota Zoo
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