Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Namibia: Save the Rhino Trust confirms internal investigation & photo gallery


Save the Rhino Trust confirms internal investigation and steps taken to strengthen rhino protection

Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT) acknowledges the newspaper article written by Mr John Grobler and published in The Namibian on 19 January 2015.

SRT confirms that an internal investigation was launched in 2014 in response to concerns raised by Mr Grobler.  SRT acknowledges Mr Grobler’s efforts in the fight against rhino poaching.

The investigation, which is being conducted by an external investigator, is complex and still in process, with conclusions not expected for several weeks.  Should any evidence or suspicion of criminal activity be identified, this information will be passed to the Protected Resources Unit of Nampol, the Namibian Police Force, in additional to taking appropriate internal actions.

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SRT’s Board of Trustees is committed to being transparent with the results of its investigation.  SRT’s stakeholders and the public do however need to understand that any ongoing police investigation that may arise may reduce the details that can be made public.

SRT has taken a number of concrete steps to strengthen its capacity to respond to the escalating criminal threat posed by poaching syndicates.  The restructuring of SRT’s field activities was announced on 31 December 2014 (appended).

During a strategic planning workshop by the SRT Board of Trustees on the 25 August 2014 critical areas with regard to management and governance were identified and the creation of a Chief Operating Officer post was approved to augment current operations with additional skills.
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On February 1, Dr Axel Hartmann will assume the full-time role of Chief Operating Officer of SRT.  Dr Hartmann is a well-respected veterinarian and has been a long-standing Trustee of SRT in conjunction with his leadership in rhino treatment in Namibia.  Dr. Hartmann will work closely with SRT’s CEO, Simson Uri-Khob.
SRT’s Board of Trustees, recognising the increased complexity of the poaching threat, has also identified additional Trustees to strengthen governance and bring further skills to the Board.  An announcement in this respect will be made shortly once appointments are confirmed.

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SRT sincerely thanks its many stakeholders, including MET, donors and Kunene communities, for their support and understanding as the investigation is conducted.  Our stakeholders and the Namibian public appreciate the challenge of protecting a massive and rugged area with few fences, no national park status and no controls over who may go in and out.

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Over the past thirty years, the rhino population of the Kunene Region has grown from very near extinction. SRT is proud to have been a part of its success.  However, the threats to Namibia’s rhinos have intensified, and SRT remains committed to working with its partners in the communities, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Kunene Rhino Protection Unit, and NamPol’s Protected Resources Unit in protecting the black rhinos of the Kunene Region.
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