Community conservation in Namibia grew out of the recognition that wildlife and other natural resources are of value in communal areas, and that these resources can be unlocked if local communities are empowered to manage and utilize resources themselves. The Namibian Government supported these efforts by trans locating rhinos to communities and even though the government still owns the rhino, under the management of SRT these communities are trained and equipped through the Rhino Ranger Program to monitor and help protect the rhinos.
The community chooses a minimum of two local people to be trained in rhino tracking and tourism. Since 2012, SRT and partners have provided training, equipment and bonus payments to 52 local rhino rangers in 13 communities. This has helped triple the number of trained rangers protecting rhino. Now, 100% of rhino that live on community lands in the Kunene Region of Namibia are being protected by the community that lives alongside them.
The program is implemented by a support group currently comprised of senior staff within Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) and Minnesota Zoo.
Photo Credit: Marcus Westberg