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HUAP Trust supports Anti-Poaching Efforts

Worried about the surge in poaching in northeastern Namibia, members of NAPHA ́s big game committee decided to do something against this evil. The Hunters United Against Poaching Trust (HUAP) was founded in 2015 by seven prominent figures from MET, WWF and NAPHA: Colgar Sikopo, Abe Malherbe, Felix Marnewecke, Koos Pienaar, Greenwell Matongo, Danene van der Westhuyzen and Falko Schwarz. Soon afterwards a gala dinner with an auction was organised to raise funds. It took place on 3 September that year and brought in 2.7 million Namibia Dollars.

Dirk Heinrich

“We as proud Namibian professional hunters and concessionaires are exposed to what is actually going on out there in the rural parts of our country on a daily basis. We have an acute frame of reference to the serious nature of poaching and the threats to our fauna and flora. In most cases it is us, the professional hunters, who find and report poached animals to MET”, Falko Schwarz pointed out at this year’s gala dinner on 31 August. “We assist MET with patrolling, transportation and reporting. A huge amount of money, time and effort is invested in trying to get this problem under control. But it is not enough”, the chairman of NAPHA ́s big game committee told the audience.

The HUAP Trust has used some of the income from the first auction to train 24 community game guards in two courses of two weeks each. The total cost for transport from the Zambezi and Kavango regions to Windhoek, accommodation and meals during the course, the provision of ammunition, basic uniforms and a kit for each trainee was N$ 704 428.

An amount of N$ 137 500 was paid out to 34 informants. Their information resulted in 23 separate incidents being reported to the police, ranging from illegal pangolin trade, impala and kudu poaching, illegal possession of protected game and products of protected game species such as lion skin and 37 elephant tusks. A total of 30 suspects were arrested.

“We bought 20 drums of fuel worth N$ 65 947 for the MET helicopter to fly patrols in the affected areas”, Schwarz said. For another N$ 30 000, the HUAP Trust purchased Azaro, the purpose-trained sniffer dog, for MET.

Two MET officials from Katima Mulilo, who are in charge of the anti-poaching unit in the Zambezi Region, were awarded N$ 10 000 each for their outstanding effort and commitment to duty. “Morgan Sai Sai and Francis Santambwa never refused to investigate a case no matter if it was at night, after hours or on a weekend. Without these two men, poaching in Zambezi would be even worse”, Schwarz praised them at the gala dinner.

At this year’s auction a life-size rhino carved out of exquisite white Namibian marble by renowned French sculptor Gé Pellini, two international hunts (one in Spain and one in Sweden), ten trophy hunts in Namibia, eight own use hunts, weekend getaways and several pieces of unique jewellery as well as various miscellaneous items including a Krieghoff Semprio hunting rifle were up for grabs.

The gala evening brought in N$ 85 5000. Unfortunately, there was no offer for the marble rhino. NAPHA and the HUAP trustees had expected it to fetch more than two million Namibia Dollars. Now the hope is that a bidder will be found before NAPHA’s AGM at the end of November.

HUAP Game Guards Training, HUAP / Dirk Heinrich, HuntiNamibia 2017.

NAPHA president Danene van der Westhuyzen together with the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, who was full of praise for the immense work done by the HUAP Trust and the support for his ministry.

Featured photo top: The second gala dinner and auction was made possible by the hard work and organisation of f.l.t.r.:Tanja Dahl (NAPHA Chief Executive Officer), Nikita Greyling (NAPHA Administrative Assistant), Nicole Schwandt (NAPHA Executive Assistant), Maike Prickett (HUAP Trust Auction Assistant), Maria Thiessen (HUAP Trust Administrative Assistant), Falko Schwarz (HUAP Trust Chairperson), Mona Kleinschmidt (HUAP Trust Administrative Assistant) and Mirja Sasse (HUAP Trust Auction Assistant). In the background the main auction item the marble rhino by French sculptor Gé Pellini.

This article was first published in HuntiNamibia 2018.