MET/ MTC launch Rhino Security SMS hotline
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah,
officially launched a new SMS hotline that will help protect Namibia’s
rhinos and other natural heritage. This hotline has been set up
by the Directorate of Scientific Services, in partnership with MTC.
“Rhinos, specifically the black rhino, are Namibia’s
flagship species. Namibia is a world leader in rhino conservation,
and we are extremely proud of this achievement,” Hon Nandi-Ndaitwah
told a media conference.
The Minister stated that ‘both consumptive and non-consumptive
use of rhino significantly contribute to the economic development
and the improvement in the livelihoods of all of our people’.
She explained that rhinos were once plentiful across the African
plains, as well as in Namibia. But poaching has drastically reduced
numbers worldwide, with animals killed for their horns. It is thus
important that they are protected.
“We are aware that despite international legislation and
domestic bans on trade in rhino horn, rhino are still under threat
from poachers who believe they can make money easily from selling
“Our best weapon against poachers is you, the public. You
are the eyes and ears of the nation. Poaching will affect your life.
Rhino poaching will steal from you and your family. It will rob
you financially and spiritually. We are the generation that is the
custodians of these, God’s remarkable creatures. And we must
“I therefore want to make it very clear. Here, in Namibia,
we have zero tolerance for poaching. Those who are caught will face
The Minister described rhino as ‘the golden geese’
that attract tourists to Namibia.
Tourism is one of the key contributors to our Gross Domestic Product,
and gives direct income to individuals and communities, she added.
The world-famous Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha National Park is
a well-known place to view rhino, while studies have shown that
nearly half of tourists visiting Kunene Region go there to view
either desert-dwelling rhino or elephant.
“Rhinos are a tourist magnet, bringing with them income and
foreign exchange. This creates jobs, improves rural livelihoods,
and alleviates poverty.
“I want to reiterate to our people that our rhinos are worth
far more alive than dead. Take those rhino away and the golden goose
is killed forever,” she stated.
In light of poaching in neighbouring countries, Hon Nandi-Ndaitwah
stated that the MET had put measures in place to ensure proper protection
of rhinos and other specially protected species. These include:
· Expert training of Ministry of Environment and Tourism
staff in tracking, law enforcement, weapons handling and crime scene
· Implementation of sophisticated monitoring programmes
and a database, in partnership with NGOs such as Save the Rhino
· The development of regional rhino security strategies
following a national workshop, involving many stakeholders
· The immobilisation of hundreds of rhinos, which have been
fitted with transmitters to alert authorities should an animal be
dormant or disappear for a few hours
· The establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to
help advice and assist in the combating of poaching and to investigate
cases should they occur.
Several other measures could not be revealed due to security reasons.
At the same occasion, MTC’s Chief Corporate Affairs and Human
Capital officer, Tim Ekandjo, stated that MTC’s support helped
provide a platform for members of Namibian communities to alert
the authorities on potential poachers or people who kill our wildlife
“While we view it as a humble contribution, we hope that
the establishment of the SMS platform and the usage thereof will
discourage potential poachers from engaging in these cowardly activities
He expressed MTC’s appreciation to the Minister and her team
of dedicated officials for protecting the environment and promoting
The Hon. Minister sincerely thanked MTC for supporting the hotline,
stating that the company had set ‘an excellent example for
the private sector in caring for our natural heritage’. She
also thanked WWF for their support and sponsorship of posters and
The Hon Minister also thanked MET staff for conserving wildlife
for the benefit of current and future generations; the media for
ongoing support and communities and conservancies for their dedication
MET is working closely with the Namibian police, Interpol, conservation
authorities in South Africa and other countries, as well as with
international organisations such as TRAFFIC International. Local
partners include Save the Rhino Trust, Integrated Rural Development
and Nature Conservation and NACSO, regional councils, traditional
authorities, rural communities, conservancies, lodges, and tour
The Ministry will soon distribute posters across the country advertising
the hotline, will make a brochure available and will feature rhino
at their stand at the forthcoming Tourism Expo in Windhoek during
The SMS Hotline enables the public to
anonymously tip-off authorities about suspicious activities that
threaten rhino and the safety of Namibia’s wildlife. Sending
an sms is free. All information is confidential. Please send an
alert sms to 55555.
LET’S PROTECT OUR COUNTRY, LET’S
PROTECT OUR RHINOS!