Rhino in Namibia

DSWF is supporting conservation progammes in Namibia to save one of the world’s last surviving, truly wild populations of black rhinos.

The rhino crisis

In the mid-1980s a savage slaughter of wildlife, particularly of the black rhino which suffered a catastrophic 98% decline throughout Africa, was taking place in Namibia. The world’s last remaining population of desert-adapted rhino, together with the desert elephant, was facing extinction. Rhino numbers were reduced to approximately 30 animals in the remote landscape of Kunene province.

Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) was set up by the late Blythe Loutit and other concerned individuals, to work with government and local leaders to conserve the rhino in communal lands by means of anti-poaching patrols, monitoring and community education. DSWF is the longest standing international donor of SRT, which has successfully protected the desert-adapted black rhino for thirty years, enabling populations to emerge from the brink of extinction.

Today, a new crisis is facing wild rhinos across Africa and Asia. A shocking rise in rhino poaching incidents reflects an escalating demand for rhino horn. Sadly, this crisis has reached Namibia. Until the recent surge in poaching, the rhino populations in Kunene had been safe from poaching.

How we protect the black rhino

Supporting anti-poaching work through consistent patrolling and monitoring of black rhino in the Kunene, particularly within the tourism concessions, DSWF funds are instrumental in keeping staff active on the ground. Teams of trackers patrol the region and monitor the rhinos from vehicles, on foot and in the air. In response to poaching incidents security operations are undertaken which include fitting transmitters and satellite collars as well as taking DNA samples of all the rhino processed during the capture operation.

Involving local communities is vital to the protection of the black rhino and its habitat. DSWF provides support including training, monitoring equipment, field gear including uniforms and camping kit, performance-based bonus payments and logistical support to enable the conservancy rhino ranger teams to effectively monitor the rhino on their lands. 100% of Namibia’s northwest rhino population is now covered by this successful programme through 13 communal conservancies and 26 trained community rhino rangers.

You can support this work by clicking the donate button today.

Photo: Andrew White
Header image: SRT – Photo above: Andrew White

Did you know?

Namibia's black rhino are the only truly wild rhino species in Africa