Pupkewitz Foundation's answer to the call to donate an all terrain vehicle to be exclusively used to further the LAC's project goals in the Palmwag Concession Area to contribute to the saving of Namibia's last free roaming black rhinos has become a reality.
Meryl Barry, CEO of the Pupkewitz Foundation handed the vehicle over to Willem Odendaal, Project Coordinator, Legal Assistance Centre recently which will be used in the field. The Legal Assistance Centre's Land, Environment and Development Project has a long and proud history of supporting Namibia's communal conservancies through providing them with legal advice and legal representation.
Odendaal explained that in recent years, the conservation of Africa's wildlife, especially its Rhino and Elephant populations, has come under renewed pressure due to the increase of poaching. Over the last year or so, it has become apparent that Namibia's wildlife populations are not exempted from this new onslaught. For example, in the last year and a half, at least six black rhinos have been poached in the Palmwag Concession Area. This is reason for concern since poaching in this Palmwag area has been virtually unknown for nearly two decades.
The Legal Assistance Centre's approach to all of this has been to invite a number of stakeholders in the conservation of Namibia's wildlife to attend a workshop in May 2014. One of the key recommendations of the workshop was that coordination and support at community based level in raising awareness of the serious effect that poaching will have on community income should be improved.
Following this recommendation, the Legal Assistance Centre embarked on a community advocacy campaign entitled "Conservation Support Project". The purpose of this campaign is to focus their actions specifically on the Palmwag Concession Area where they work closely together with the conservancies that are mostly affected by the escalation of black rhino poaching. The Palmwag Concession is the last vicinity in the world where a significant black rhino population roams freely.
For over three decades, Namibia has been one of the leading examples the implementation of asuccessful Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) programme. This is largely credited to the enduring commitment of the Namibian Government, its Business Sector, its Non-Governmental Sector and most importantly, its people to conserve Namibia's unique wildlife.
With a sense of ownership over the utilisation of wildlife, conservancy communities are motivated to conserve the wildlife in their areas, because of the increased financial benefits that this brings to their communities in the form of increased tourism and hunting income.
It is against this reality that the LAC approached the Pupkewitz Foundation to support this initiative. Without their timely response to our call, our aspirations to contribute to the saving of Namibia's last free roaming black rhinos would not have become a reality.