Before coming to Namibia, visit [email protected] and help fund the rangers protecting the world’s only truly wild rhinos
A Namibian foundation is tapping into the unlimited potential of e-commerce in partnership with a well-known retailer, to cover the cost of some of the items it regularly supplies to the large pool of community rangers who protect the indigenous black rhino population in Kunene and Erongo.
The Conservation Travel Foundation, the corporate social responsibility branch of Ultimate Safaris, has been active since 2006 to raise funding in cash or kind for the community rangers employed by the Save the Rhino Trust. Now the foundation has partnered with outdoors retailer, CYMOT, hoping to entice prospective travellers to Namibia, to make an online purchase to the benefit of the trust. The foundation lists a number of items, mostly field gear, that need to be replaced regularly, and which are usually funded by the Rhino Trust.
On the e-commerce platform, [email protected], an online portal was created where visitors, before they depart for Namibia, can purchase much-needed field uniforms and gear on a cost-recovery basis. Various package options are available and once an order has been placed and settled online, the consignment is prepared and delivered to the Conservation Travel Foundation in Windhoek in time for the guests’ arrival.
Ultimate Safaris Managing Director, Tristan Cowley said their foundation will then facilitate the official handover of the uniforms and gear to the Save the Rhino Trust, and if the visitor happens to be in Namibia at that time, he or she is invited to join the occasion.
“Our hope is that this active and regular guest participation in the acquisition of these uniforms and gear will make this replacement and the continuing growth of the programme sustainable. There is also an additional benefit to this programme in that all uniforms and gear are purchased locally, contributing further to the economy,” Cowley stated adding that if only a small portion of the guests travelling to Namibia take part in this programme, actively contributing to conservation, this will help make the whole Rhino Ranger project far more sustainable.
The CYMOT Marketing Executive, Gabriela Raith, said “We are extremely grateful to be able to support this great initiative and to team up with such a visionary company like Ultimate Safaris. We hope that the rest of the world will also recognise these efforts and support this worthy cause.”
CYMOT, a wholly-owned Namibian retailer of outdoors gear and automotive components, has been supporting conservation for many years. During 2018 the company launched an e-commerce portal where more than 45,000 stock items are listed. Any item can be ordered and paid for online. CYMOT will arrange for delivery.
The Community Rangers dedicate their working lives to the protection of the black rhino, spending the majority of their time in the field, covering vast distances on foot while exposed to the harsh elements of a desert environment. The rangers are equipped with field uniforms and gear which need regular replacement given the demands of the environment and the frequency of use. This has become a significant burden on the Rhino Trust’s available budget. Covering these costs has never really been sustainable as it has relied largely on unpredictable ad-hoc grants and donations.
“In recognition of this and as part of our efforts to get Rhino Tourism to contribute to the costs of rhino conservation and making the project more sustainable, Ultimate Safaris’ Conservation Travel Foundation launched the PACK FOR CONSERVATION programme in 2018,” concluded Cowley.
Caption: Managing Director of Ultimate Safaris, Tristan Cowley (left) and Marketing Executive at CYMOT, Gabriela Raith.