“Are you prepared to do whatever you can to help protect our rhino?”
These were the words of Omusati Hon. Governor Erginus Endjala to a diverse crowd of more than 50 Tradition Authorities, regional councilors, law enforcement officers, teachers and conservation officials who came together in early December to learn more about the crisis facing Namibia’s rhinos. The 4 day tour (3 – 7 December 2017), which began in Ruacana with strategic stops in Outapi, Okahao and Onesi, was jointly facilitated by Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) and Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) and planned just before the holiday season – when poaching activity in the region often peaks.
Daily meetings were held at each site and provided extensive background information to the problem, what is and is not currently working and collectively brainstorm solutions. Each meeting concluded with a pledge ceremony led by a highly respected individual leading whereby each participant formally professed their commitment to join the fight to protect rhinos in front of their peers. Each verbal pledge was rewarded with a custom ‘Rhino Friend’ bracelet, donated by Namibian leather company Nakara, to remind them of their vow and openly display their support for rhinos.
In addition, free public music performances by well-known Namibian artists Bullet ya Kaoko, Tulisan and Adora, who performed their recently written and produced rhino songs, brought a strong message to the broader community about the importance of rhino. The concerts attracted roughly 4,000 – 5,000 people from the Outapi and Okahao area. No rhinos in Kunene were poached over the holidays. More Rhino Pride Concert dates for 2018 will be released as part of our ongoing Rhino Pride Campaign efforts.
We thank USAID, B2Gold, WWF-Namibia, TOSCO, Nakara, Houston Zoo and Minnesota Zoo for supporting this event.