WINDHOEK , Feb. 21 – One of the effective approaches to help protect Namibia’s endangered species is symbolised by the Intelligence Support Against Poaching (ISAP)’s multi-pronged approach. Animals that range from rhinos, elephants, and lions are catalogued through an anti-poaching task force that gathers information through its digital platforms, the 555 55 SMS Poaching Hotline, and personnel on the ground.
It then processes the information into intelligence to be used by anti-poaching authorities or organizations, including the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Namibian Police Protected Resource Division.
ISAP relies on communities to amplify ground operations capability. Tinus Hansen, the Chief Operating Officer at ISAP explained the important relationship between wildlife and people.
“Without the custodianship of rural communities, the saving of wildlife against poaching will be in vain, and it is therefore critical to consider our wildlife and our people as inseparably linked,” he said.
For this reason, ISAP partakes in a variety of community development projects with the core objective of establishing an intelligence-gathering network across Namibia.
“Local communities know the animals – they understand how they move, how they think and how important they are for the Namibian and global ecosystems. They are key to protecting precious species by being our eyes, ears and hands,” said Hansen.
“The other side of the coin is the importance of financial aid to ensure our projects remain viable and deliver hardcore results. Partners such as Nedbank Namibia who recently donated NAD 50,000 to support ISAP’s daily operations enable us to fight full-force in the anti-poaching battle. It is with sincere gratitude that we accept Nedbank ‘s contribution.”
ISAP is in the process of rolling out the Honorary Ranger Program as well as establishing a network of informants to coordinate and centralize national information gathering. It also addresses gaps in anti-poaching logistics, including asset support – ISAP vehicles, its airwing, and monitoring and evaluation equipment which is used by the task force in anti-poaching projects.
With its experience in data collection, ISAP has been nominated as the focal point for the roll out of Cmore intelligence software in Namibia. ISAP has also established alliances with international technology-based organizations.
Explaining ISAP’s in-depth knowledge, Hansen added, “Our team – including lawyers, engineers, pilots, field operation specialists and CEOs of companies – has the varied skill sets needed to source and test a variety of anti-poaching solutions.”
ISAP’s strategic and calculated approaches to anti-poaching interventions, including involving local communities, display the non-profit organization’s innovation and are necessary for poaching to be stopped in Namibia. “As a non-profit we are dependent on responsible corporate citizens, such as Nedbank – a strong advocate and influencer on environmental initiatives.” – NDN Staffer