Noticeable increase in awareness of wildlife crimes
None of the four N$250,000 rewards offered by Namibia Breweries to support the work of an anti-poaching unit, has been claimed, but the Ministry of Environment and Tourism is investigating several cases.
These early steps in the successful prosecution of wildlife criminals, is due in no small measure to the efforts of an outfit styling themselves The Intelligence Support Against Rhino Poaching, or ISAP for short.
The week Thursday, the conservation activists, together with the Breweries as sponsor, and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, celebrated World Rhino Day. ISAP said World Rhino Day marks five months since they started their surveillance work and already there has been a noticeable increase in awareness of wildlife crimes in general and of poaching in general.
Earlier this year ISAP launched a tip-off service for members of the public to report wildlife crimes by SMS to the number 55555. A massive incentive is provided by Namibia Breweries Ltd who pledged to pay N$250,000 to whistle blowers after the justice system has put the criminal behind bars.
The ‘Blow The Horn On Rhino Poaching’ campaign launched on 20 April this year by the Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET); Namibian Police (NAMPOL); Intelligence Support Against Poaching (ISAP), and Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) – a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group – contributes significantly to environmental awareness in Namibia according to the founder of ISAP, Fritz Kaufmann.
Kaufmann said, “The number of leads that we have received on the 55555 number and the ISAP app over the past five months is a clear indication of the growth in people’s awareness of the environment and its worth.” He went on to say that some tip-off cases of poaching were referred to the Ministry of Environment & Tourism which is currently under investigation.
NBL Managing Director, Wessie van der Westhuizen, emphasized the value of the rhino to the local tourism sector: “Tourism is a major contributor to job creation and has the potential to create many more jobs in our quest to fight poverty. Key factors driving tourism are our natural heritage and wildlife, of which rhinos are a major attraction.” Kaufmann added, “taking care of the environment is each and everyone’s responsibility. All of us need to take hands and embrace this initiative as a collective effort [for] the sustainability of our country and its wildlife for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.”
When ISAP receives a tip, it is vetted for reliability before given to the environment ministry for investigation.