By Confidente Reporter
IN contribution to strengthening the fight against poaching, Namibia Breweries Limited last week officially handed over a two-seater aircraft, a Piper Super Cub named ‘The Protector’ as an additional tool to the Intelligence Support Against Poaching (ISAP).
NBL, a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group re-affirmed its commitment to the national fight against poaching by arming ISAP with The Protector for use in its operations to curb illegal killing of Namibia’s wildlife species.
NBL Managing Director, Wessie van der Westhuizen said, “Rhino poaching is no longer just a Namibian or SADC issue – it is at the centre of the world’s attention. We need to understand that, not only does losing one single rhino cause an ecological imbalance, but the impact it has on our economy, in particular the tourism industry, is enormous. We simply cannot ignore this inhumane act and watch our beautiful endangered species become extinct. We need to act now!”
For the past two years, NBL has strengthened ISAP’s operations with an annual sponsorship of N$100 000 through its brand Windhoek Lager, and is now taking the fight against rhino poaching to another level.
Van der Westhuizen added that, “We are excited to further strengthen ISAP in its quest to curb this sad act. The plane that we will hand over today is not just another sponsorship from NBL, but is testimony to our passionate commitment to really making rhino poaching a thing of the past.”
Official poaching statistics released by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) earlier this year show that 216 black and white rhinos have been killed over the past four years. Poachers killed 63 black and white rhinos in 2016, 91 in 2015 and 61 were slaughtered in 2014.
Elephant poaching has also proven to be a great concern in the country with 266 elephants killed by poachers since 2013 to date. The ministry’s records show that elephant poaching skyrocketed in 2016, with 101 cases reported compared to 49 in 2015, 78 in 2014, and 38 in 2013.
MET Minister, Pohamba Shifeta delivered the keynote address at the handing over ceremony. “The rhino forms part of the country’s very attractive tourism potential and attributes. A sector which is doing very well at the moment, because of the rare and unique features our country has to offer. The tourism sector plays a critical role on the economic front of Namibia and contributes immensely to the national coffers. This sector provides jobs for thousands of Namibians and feeds thousands of families. The impact of this sector on Namibia’s economy is tremendous. Unemployment and poverty are already two of our biggest social issues – concerns that are a priority in the President’s Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
“Thus, not addressing what threatens the future of our tourism sector will worsen our unemployment and poverty rates. And it starts with confronting, addressing and confiscating our current biggest threat – the sad and despicable act of poaching.”
The Minister applauded ISAP for its efforts and remarkable work in address
ing poaching. He further commended O&L for taking the lead in corporate Namibia to address the issue: “It is because of the commitment and support by corporates like you, that our nation has a great future. The passion for our beautiful country and its natural heritage and your support towards anti-poaching is what keeps our collective mission alive and brings hope for a brighter tomorrow.”
According to ISAP director: Operations & Marketing, Tinus Hansen, The Protector will be used for tracking collared animals, follow-up on poachers, air support for ISAP operations, carcass locations, and patrols in national parks and private reserves.
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