TASA Donates Towards Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation in partnership with Tourism Supporting Conservation (TOSCO), Desert lion Conservation (DLC) and IRDNC.
The Tour and Safari Association (TASA) of Namibia announced its support to the Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) Response Programme through its Lion Response Team, at a meeting held in the capital last week.
Funding of N$ 200 000 will be disbursed over two years through the Tourism Supporting Conservation (TOSCO) Trust as facilitating partner, and managed by Integrated Rural Development and Conservation (IRDNC).
Vice-Chairperson of TASA, Bernd Schneider explained, “This is the first time TASA makes funding available for conservation in this magnitude. Two years ago at our AGM, we found ourselves in a healthy financial situation and decided we want to give back to the tourism industry. The result of this decision was the launch of the Reinvest in Tourism Fund, which is aimed to act towards the greater benefit of the tourism industry and local communities it supports.”
Through a member-based approach, the Association set up a range of internal criteria and projects were selected through a strict process, with an overall minimum score of 80% or above, which had to be attained to be considered for funding.
After months of analysis, TOSCO was selected as the project beneficiary, having earmarked the funding for the Lion Response Team. The funding will be utilised for covering running costs of the team’s response vehicle. The vehicle is used in lion and elephant range conservancies in the Kunene Region, to facilitate patrolling and assist conservancies in preventative measures against conflict. Felix Vallat, Chairman of TOSCO, mentioned that since the project inception a month ago, the response team has successfully attended to eight lion incidences in the area. “It also put 150 unregistered settlements on the map, which is part of the mission and mandate of the Northwest Lion Management Plan, as endorsed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. What’s great about this project, is that various conservation organisations are standing together as one team.”
John Kasaona, Executive Director if IRDNC, referred to the current situation in the Kunene Region, stating, “There is a threat on the ground and communities are loosing their livelihoods. This funding came at just the right time. We were becoming hopeless. At least now the community will receive a sense of assistance through the presence and support of the response team. It will benefit communities by reducing the level of conflict they currently experience.”
He also noted that the communities have Dr Philip (Flip) Stander to thank for his continuous assistance in conflict management. “Conservation will not be as successful without key figures like him.” Stander, through the Desert Lion Conservation Project, will assist with the research component of the programme.
“The great thing is that people are pulling together with a common goal, without any individual having to take credit for it. The main benefit of this agreement, apart from the funding, is the newly established partnerships – it’s going to take us places,” Stander added, echoing the consensus of all parties involved.
Schneider concluded, “We’ve set the groundwork for future projects. TASA will continue to engage and fulfil our mandate within the Namibian tourism industry; this project is the first step towards that.”
First National Bank (FNB) Namibia has also pledged their support for the Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) Response Programme through a donation of N$20 000 towards uniforms, boots and other gear.
- About TASA
Founded in 1989, the Tour and Safari Association of Namibia (TASA) is a voluntary private-sector body that acts on behalf of its members to encourage the development of responsible tourism in Namibia, ensure standards and reliability in the Namibian tourism industry and further the common interests of Namibian Tour Operators.
- About TOSCO
Tourism Supporting Conservation (TOSCO) Trust is a non-profit organisation linking the tourism industry to local people, conservation organisations and research. By supporting conservation projects and local people who share their land with wildlife, TOSCO Trust contributes to safeguarding Namibia’s natural assets. TOSCO also engages in promoting responsible tourism in Namibia.
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