Guest Contributor | May 17, 2019 | 0
From the dazzling lights of high fashion to the dust and grit of Damaraland – all for rhinos
International catwalk icon, Behati Prinsloo is back in her motherland for the first time in seven years, this time to support the work of the Save the Rhino Trust, and to raise awareness of rhino conservation in general.
Delighted to be back, Behati said, “Namibia is my home. It’s the secret jewel of Mother Africa. It’s also one of the most amazing places in the world, and the rhinos contribute to this sense of wonder. I grew up here and it is where my parents still live so this cause is very close to my heart.”
Joining forces with the Save the Rhino Trust is the first step in a worldwide campaign which the former model has launched to highlight the dedication and perseverance of the rhino guardians.
“The opportunity to come home to see what is happening, to meet people caring for orphaned black and white rhinos, and to work with the trackers, rangers and communities to raise awareness is very important to me. Someday, I want to take my children to experience these animals in the wild. They’ve inspired us for generations; it’s on us to help them now,” she said.
The trust’s Chief Executive, Simson Uri-Khob, said “This support speaks to the level of excitement shared by all of us at the trust and by the rhino rangers in local conservancies. We are thrilled to welcome Behati to our team and we know that her involvement will make a tremendous difference for rhinos and for Namibia.”
As the special envoy of the trust, she has been tracking rhinos on foot across rugged terrain and absorbing the effects of wildlife crime compounded by the drought. In this way, working on the ground, so to speak, she gained a deeper understanding of the commitment needed to protect these critically endangered animals.
Namibia’s wild rhinos in the Kunene are the only truly wild rhino population in the world, not restricted by fences and not confined only to protected areas. This makes their protection extremely complicated but a large part of the solution lies with the communities sharing the land with the rhino. For this reason, the community-based rhino rangers fulfill a critical role in gathering intelligence that enables law enforcers to prevent poaching.
The role of rhino rangers and their successful track record are the core elements of the story Behati wants to tell the world.
Ginger Mauney who was instrumental in establishing the partnership between Behati and rhino conservation, acknowledged the generous support from all the other supporters, saying “We received enthusiastic support from our partners in conservation at B2Gold, Mt. Etjo Safari Lodge, Ongava Game Reserve, WestAir Aviation and Wilderness Safaris Namibia who helped to make this trip possible.”