Khorixas community celebrate World Rhino Day – US Ambassador reaffirms commitment to save wildlife
More than 400 community members joined the march through Khorixas to celebrate World Rhino Day last week. The march was led by Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Bernadette Jagger, and U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson.
The march was a call for the protection of the rhino population. “Together, we must save Namibia’s rhinos from illegal poaching,”Johnson said in Khorixas at a ceremony to mark Rhino Day, which occurs on 22 September.
“Our hard work is paying off,” she said in her remarks at the World Rhino Day ceremony, which was hosted by the Namibia Nature Foundation and Save the Rhino Trust.
Zero rhinos have been poached over the last two years in the northwestern communal areas of Kunene, she noted.
Ambassador Johnson congratulated the Environment Ministry, the WWF, the Governor of Kunene, and their many partners for the achievement.
Johnson also specifically thanked Kunene community members who have served as game guards for more than 15 years, calling their commitment to the rhino an example of outstanding conservation leadership.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provides funding to the WWF through the Combating Wildlife Crime Project, which protects the black rhino population in northwest Namibia. The project is a five-year initiative, begun in 2017, and partners with both the Namibian government and local communities.
Johnson described in her remarks several rhino conservation projects in the Kunene Region sponsored by the U.S. government, including through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
“We’ve shown that Namibia’s rhinos can be saved through a collective effort by our governments, communities, and partners in conservation,” Ambassador Johnson said.
“On World Rhino Day, I want to reaffirm to all Namibians the United States’ commitment to your precious wildlife,” she concluded.
Caption: Community members joined the march on Friday 20 September, through Khorixas to celebrate World Rhino Day. The march was led by Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Bernadette Jagger, and U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson (center), flanked by Save the Rhino Trust CEO Simpson Urikhob (left) and USAID Country Representative Dr. Randy Kolstad (right).