SRT joins in Queen's birthday celebration

08 June 2018 | Life Style

In honour of Queen Elizabeth II's 92nd birthday, and as a wedding present to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the day was celebrated with the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), focusing on the illegal trade of wildlife.

The celebration was held in Windhoek on Tuesday.

British high commissioner to Namibia Kate Airey said at the occasion that tackling the illegal trade in wildlife was as important to the UK as it was to Namibia and many of its international partners.

Airey said it was important that all countries adapt and change in response to these global threats. “We now know that the gangs that traffic illegal wildlife goods are the same criminals that traffic people and smuggle drugs.”

She said this was why the UK saw tackling the illegal trade in wildlife as a security issue first and foremost, and one that needed strong international collaboration.

She said the UK would, therefore, for the fourth consecutive year host an international conference on international wildlife trade in October this year.

Leone Dunn, the director of the Financial Intelligence Centre, and Colgar Sikopo, Namibia's director of wildlife and parks at the environment ministry, are travelling to Wilton Park in the UK at the end of this month to help decide what actions the international community can take to ensure that these actions will have an impact in Namibia.

“We will also continue to work with Namibia and other partners to identify ways in which the British government and UK non-governmental organisations can provide practical help on the ground,” said Airey.

According to her Prince Harry visited Namibia in 2015 to work with the Save the Rhino Trust. Airey said it is a charity close to his heart and has fuelled a real love for this country.

“So we invited Save the Rino Trust to share our party with us today and talk about their work. We hope that many of you here will be inspired as Prince Harry is by what they do and support them in their difficult and often dangerous work.”

Airey added that she had no doubt that Prince Harry would want to bring his new wife to this part of Africa that he loves so much.

“Everyone here knows that Namibia is a fabulous destination for discerning tourists. And now, thanks to the power of the global media, everyone in the UK if not the whole world knows it too. So Namibia, be prepared.”

Samson Uri-Khob, the CEO of the Save the Rhino Trust, said the story of SRT was a truly remarkable one.

“It combines animals surviving at the very edge of their natural range, a small band of conservationists determined to halt the slaughter and the collaboration of local communities and the government not only to help, but ultimately to enable the rhinos to expand back into their historic home territories.”

Uri-Khob said since 1982 the poaching of desert-adapted black rhino has been combated across the Erongo and Kunene regions of north-western Namibia.

ELLANIE SMIT