Intelligence Support Against Poaching responds to whistle blowers
By Fritz Kaufamann
ISAP Chief Executive.
In response to the questions posted by the Whistle Blowers on their social media platform I have the following to say:
The donations received were for the construction of the Intelligence Support Against Poaching (ISAP) Facility in the Otjozondjupa region. Global and local lessons in combatting poaching all reflect that education and training is an important element in securing community participation in protecting the environment.
Donors who funded the construction endorsed the objective to have a facility for educational training and environmental awareness purposes. The facility is being constructed in stages and the first two have been completed as per the donors’ request. The facility is operating and is open to be visited at any time.
Included in staff costs for the financial year is the remuneration for the construction project manager and for the ISAP head of operations who was responsible for all organisation projects, fundraising, coordination and planning of poaching activities including liaison with the authorities and reporting to donors.
The allegations fail to recognise that ISAP as an organisation is involved in activities that go beyond surveillance, aerial and general information surveillance. An organisation such as ISAP requires physical, organisational and management infrastructure in order to drive the activities that it participates in. Some of these costs such as rent, telephones, printing, insurance, courier and postage, internet and accounting fees cannot be linked directly to a specific anti-poaching activity but must be incurred for the organisation to function. ISAP is like any other organisation in this respect.
In regards to the aeroplane, it is maintained at an average annual cost of approximately N$150 000. The plane has been instrumental in various wildlife searches during the period since it was donated to ISAP.
In addition, the plane has also been used in collaborative anti-poaching activities done jointly with NamPol. The plane is an asset that has already proven its worth and will continue to do so. Without the plane no long distance aerial surveillance activities would be possible which would severely hamper anti-poaching activities in the vast Namibian veld.
During 2018 and early 2019 it became apparent to ISAP that additional space was required to host the activities of the organisation and alternative premises had to be funded to accommodate the operational requirements, therefore ISAP gave notice to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in this regard. There was no eviction from the ministry as alleged. We continue to collaborate with the ministry in matters of common interest.
The 2019 and 2020 media coverage of the timber logging in the Kavango raised national awareness of the importance of endemic trees in Namibia. The Camelthorn Tree project is an ISAP initiative to regenerate lost natural assets through creating a sustainable supply of new saplings which are distributed through various channels. To date over 250 saplings have been provided to under privileged farmers in the Rehoboth District and other areas.
Whilst anti-poaching is frequently associated with the protection of rhinos, elephants, cheetahs and lions it must be acknowledged that there is ongoing poaching of Namibian bird life including the extremely threatened Blue Cranes which are being poached as well as the use of gill nets in the various regions.
ISAP endeavours to provide information support for all types of anti-poaching activities including the protection of the RED-LISTED species endemic to the country.
We have acquired drones and these have been used in close-range wildlife searches and short-distance aerial surveillance. They have also been put at the disposal of the authorities for their surveillance purposes. The drones have also been used in wildlife crime seminars.
ISAP has evolved not only as an information platform for poaching but also an environmental awareness organisation with educational initiatives that are co-funded from the funds obtained. The activities of ISAP are shared openly with all organisations and individuals who are interested in providing funding and it is made quite clear that ISAP is not only involved in anti-poaching but also environmental awareness activities.
Financial reporting has been concluded and the external audit arrangements are in progress. Audited financial results will be made available once the audit assignments have been completed.