Rhinos paid tribute abroad

World Wildlife Day commemorated

03 March 2020 | Events

Behati Prinsloo; SRT global ambassador; “I never imagined that the future of wildlife would be so precarious…”

New York City • Contributed


Namibian-born supermodel Behati Prinsloo joined forces with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to flip the lights on the Empire State Building to mark World Wildlife Day which is commemorated today (3 March).

The Empire State Building is an iconic feature on the New York City skyline and was made famous with movies like King Kong and Sleepless in Seattle.

Prinsloo flipped the switch on to light the building in blue, green and gold, reflecting colours of the oceans, earth and plains to highlight the plight of wildlife, including rare and endangered species on World Wildlife Day.

Sharing her commitment to Namibia’s black rhinos, Prinsloo – who is the global ambassador for the Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT) – also made it possible to have an image of a rhino circling the spire as part of the design.

“Growing up in Namibia where I was lucky enough to see elephants, lions and rhinos in the wild, I never imagined that their future would be so precarious, that we’d need to set aside a day to remind ourselves of what we have to lose if they go extinct. We simply cannot let that happen,” Prinsloo said.

SRT CEO Simson Uri-Khob said that efforts to stop poaching and fight wildlife crime are an ongoing battle, with local communities, regional partnership and international allies deeply involved in the fight.

SRT is part of the USAID (United States Agency for International Development)-funded initiative Combatting Wildlife Crime Project (CWCP). Launched in 2017, the five-year, five-country CWCP aims to increase rhino numbers in Namibia and reduce poaching of elephants and increase the opportunities for their range expansion in select areas of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA).

“Working closely with local partners, we have achieved two years without a rhino poaching incident in the northwest of Namibia, while at the same time, helping to raise awareness on the importance of biodiversity to the planet and to the lives of local people. Thanks to Behati and the UNDP, today this message is shown clearly in the night sky of New York City,” Uri-Khob said.

According to the head of WWF Namibia, Chris Weaver, the scale of wildlife crime is vast and sophisticated. “It requires many donor-funded wildlife crime support initiatives to work in a collaborative manner to counter it. No single approach will end wildlife crime.

“But, by raising awareness, building capacity, benefitting communities, stopping poaching, and strengthening investigations and prosecution, these initiatives and the CWCP are giving wildlife and communities a fighting chance.

“Today’s event in New York City to mark World Wildlife Day is a fantastic example of the importance of sharing the message to stop poaching and end wildlife crime on a global scale,” Weaver said.

WWF (World Wildlife Federation) Namibia coordinates the efforts of 13 CWCP partners namely WWF Namibia, Legal Assistance Centre, Integrated Nature Conservation and Rural Development, Namibia Association of CBNRM Support Organisations, Namibia Development Trust, Namibia Nature Foundation, and Save the Rhino Trust Namibia.

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