TOSCO & NDP working hand in hand

The Namibian Dolphin Project (NDP),

A non-profit, research and conservation organization run by several independent scientists and educators, has been working in Walvis Bay and Lüderitz since 2008. Their primary mission is to research Namibia’s cetaceans (dolphins and whales) to generate high quality data which can then be used for conservation purposes.

The Marine Environmental Office

In 2018, with the financial support from several organisations including TOSCO (N$20 000), the NDP local research team was able to fix up the old ‘Regatta’ office, situated at the Walvis Bay Yacht Club and convert it into an office space. This was an important first step to develop the building into the Marine Environmental Office as we know it today. It has allowed them to start working with schools and communities through the Community Outreach Program. To date, they have received visits from over 600 students.

A reliable 4×4

More recently, concerned with the increasing number of dolphin and whale stranding at the coast and the pressing need to react to these strandings, the Namibian Dolphin Project once again requested TOSCO’s help, this time to replace their vehicle which had provided them with many years of loyal service. A reliable 4×4 is essential to their mission by providing transport to strandings, meetings, to assist with the launching of boats and to run the organization itself. TOSCO answered the call and came up with a few ideas to help them to collect funds…

In 2019, TOSCO contributed an initial N$ 10 000 towards this cause, followed by a further N$ 18 200 raised through an online fundraising campaign which targeted tour companies and individuals concerned by the plight of Namibian marine mammals. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the following individuals for their support: 

Oliver Adolph, Joanne Lee, Sophie Guarasci, Jack Barkowski, Greg Frankfurter, Carole Shapero, Monika Hempel, Andy Fourie, Marta Bormioli Gambardella, Melanie Czarnofske, PJ Munro, Daniel Zambrano, Pietro Vermicelli and Ruth Robinson.

Simultaneously, TOSCO created social media campaigns to raise awareness. Two companies answered the call; Sea Work and Off Road CentreTogether they contributed a total of N$ 9 500. Thank you very much for your support!

TOSCO then also organised Yoga Sessions for Conservation on the beach in Walvis Bay and at the Nikhita Winkler Dance studio in Windhoek. A total of N$ 4 320 was raised. Thank you to the wonderful yoga teachers who animated these sessions: Ruth, Toya and Eva. 

And thank you Nikhita for opening your dance studio in Windhoek to all the yoga and NDP fans!

Thanks to the participation of many individuals concerned with the protection of Namibian marine mammals, TOSCO and NDP together successfully raised a total of N$116 250!

“The Namibian Dolphin Project has conducted research on the whales and dolphins of Namibia since 2008. Much of our work has been focused on the impact of tourism activities on these animals so a partnership with TOSCO was a natural progression for us.  TOSCO’s support of our work has allowed us to maintain key equipment like our research boat, and 4×4 vehicle and they played a key role in the funding and development of our new Marine Education Centre in Walvis Bay.  We greatly appreciate the support that TOSCO has provided us over the last few years and really look forward to seeing what develops from our on-going relationship!”

Simon Elwen PhD- Director – Namibian Dolphin Project

To find out more about the Namibian Dolphin Project and their efforts in marine conservation, click here

Creating awareness to the Namibian youngest audience with cartoons – poaching

As you are reading this, millions of species worldwide are being killed or taken from their native habitat. Poaching poses a big threat to many animals like elephants and rhino, as well as to smaller and more incomprehensible creatures, like lizards, snakes and pangolins. The topic on poaching can at times be complex and difficult to explain to the young children. But TOSCO and PAKO teamed up to make learning fun while explaining the importance of conservation and looking after Namibia’s natural resources and wildlife through cartoons.

Why animals are poached

Some animals are captured alive to be sold as exotic pets. Some other animals, on the other hand, are slaughtered for a commercial value, such as food, jewelry, décor or traditional medicine. 

The effects of poaching

Poaching has various effects; the most direct impact is extinction resulting in a natural imbalance. Every single animal has a specific function in the environment. By removing these animals, an imbalance of the natural environment is created.

Another negative effect of poaching is on rangers charged with protecting wildlife. Poachers are mostly armed, leading to the possibility of rangers getting wounded or gunned down.

Efforts to stop poaching

Besides providing on-the-ground protection, countries like Namibia, have developed programs to convert past poachers to rangers. There are organizations that are promoting sustainable alternatives to poachering to help people earn a fair living.   

Several laws have also been put in place to penalize illegal poaching.

But to further the importance of stopping poaching, TOSCO and PAKO joined forces to raise awareness amongst Namibians children on the importance of looking after the environment and its wildlife. In partnership with international artists, like Juan Bellorin, they create exciting comics which makes the message more accessible and fun through storytelling.

“We believe that teaching the next generation at an early age will make them become proactive adults who are concerned about the welfare of the environment they live in”. 

The  Venezuelan lawyer and artist, Juan Vicente Bellorin met up with us to  tells  his story of how he became a comic creator after graduating from law at the “Universidad de los Andes”, and how he decided to hang out his tie and take the brushes instead to create stories. 

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The COVID-19 Coronavirus , what does it mean for tourism and conservation?

We are running the three-months mark since we all learned about a new virus leading to a serious respiratory issue in China. What may have been seen as a Chinese issue at that time is now very much a global problem. We are facing a major and largely unforeseen global challenge that affects people and economics in all corners of the world. The tourism industry and the conservation are no exceptions.

Tourism is facing a serious crisis due to the worldwide pandemic of the COVID-19 corona virus. The stock market has been crashing over the past weeks. Without any certainty about how long this crisis will last or what the final economic and structural impact on tourism will be, potential tourists are more likely to adopt a “wait and see” approach as the crisis unfolds. A less direct, but serious impact is on conservation, especially when its strongly linked to tourism, which is the reality in Namibia. 

The impact on global and local the tourism industry 

International tourism has been growing non-stop since the 1950s. By 2018, the number of arrivals increased to 1.4 billion and is estimated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to account for $1.4 trillion and 7% of the value of the world’s goods and services. This means that the virus does not only affect tourism itself but also the global economy.

Since late January the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism has been undisputable. Hotels, airlines, cruise lines and tour operators are among the hardest hit in the industry, suffering from immediate consequences. 

Tourism is one of the main contributors to the Namibian economy, together with mining  and fishing.  According to the report released by the Namibia Tourism Board in 2015 the contribution of tourism to the economy, both directly and indirectly, was estimated at N$ 15.1 billion, (representing 10.2% of overall GDP) and more than 100,700 jobs. (14.5% of total employment)”.

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TOSCO Promotes Tourism Contributions to Conservation

On Namibia’s communal land, communities organized in conservancies manage an enormous asset: Some of Namibia’s most pristine and scenic landscapes as well as their iconic wildlife. But conservation costs money, and the costs of living with wildlife can be high._64774910_3558-5182Therefore, the tourism businesses associated with TOSCO (Tourism Supporting Conservation) have decided to pay a voluntary conservation contribution to selected conservancies.

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The Case “Rosh” – Lions and Responsible Tourism

On 06 July the Puros lion rangers sent this report on Rosh’s death to TOSCO:

“Dear TOSCO Team

We had a terrible incident where we discover that Rosh was shot to death.  Rosh was born in September 2004 at Uniab river and then move to Hoanib river where he spent time with the lioness of the flood plain and Okongue pride. Continue reading “The Case “Rosh” – Lions and Responsible Tourism”

In Search of Namibia’s Desert Lions – TOSCO Sponsor Field Trip 23-26 April 2014

Does Dr. Stander ever sleep? We met him after sunset, somewhere in the middle of the Palmwag Concession. We had driven all day, and so had he. But while we set up camp and prepared our dinner, Dr. Stander made for the next hill, to listen for lions via the radio system. He came to our camp fire for a chat and when we went to bed, he went back to the hill to continue listening for lions. Whereas we bothered about breakfast the next morning and had to break up camp, Dr. Stander drove off in search of the lions.

Researching desert lions in the Namib obviously is a dedication, not a job.

Dr. Stander’s research vehicle on a hill – listening for lions

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Desert Elephant Conservation – Interview with Dr Laura Brown and Rob Ramey

1956862_582654165145060_1503394533_oDesert Elephant Conservation promotes the long-term conservation of Namibia’s desert elephant population through research, monitoring, and the sharing of knowledge. Laura Brown and Rob Ramey have been studying the elephant populations of the Uniab, Hoarusib and Hoanib since 2005.

TOSCO contributed 9000 NAD for petrol to their field work end of 2013. Afterwards, they gave an interview to TOSCO:

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Success of Lion Ranger pilot project

Jun2012 lightOnly one dead cow in 2013! Since the start of the lion officer programme end of 2012 only one farmer lost one cow to lions in the Puros conservancy.

All over Africa, lions are killed by local people whose livelihood is threatened by lions. Whereas we all have an interest in the lions and the wild places they live in, the local people bear the costs, e. g. when lions eat their cattle and goats or elephants raid their crops. And they retaliate by killing lions.

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