TOSCO ("Tourism Supporting Conservation") emerged out of the realisation that the tourism industry has a responsibility to safeguard the natural resources it depends on, to ensure that Namibia's wilderness remains as enjoyable in the future as it is now. Tourism is amongst the fastest growing industries worldwide and traveling to natural areas can be harmful. Instead, TOSCO believes that tourism can be used as a tool for sustainable development. With funds from memberships of tour operators, TOSCO runs a variety of programs, focusing on sponsoring research, supporting people living with wildlife, raising public awareness and cleaner travel. To ensure programs run successfully, TOSCO works with a variety of partners in the field, including Desert Elephant Conservation, Save the Rhino Trust and Desert Lion Conservation, and strategic partners including NACSO, WWF and IRDNC. Vice versa, partners can approach TOSCO when they need tourism expertise.

The COVID-19 pandemic brings conservation worldwide under severe threat.  In Namibia, conservation efforts rely on the CBNRM approach, which empowers rural disadvantaged communities that live with wildlife on a daily basis. Forced by drought, elephants and lions are attracted to settlements in search of water and livestock respectively, causing human-wildlife conflicts in areas where humans and animals co-exist. With the support of tourism, this threat can be turned into an opportunity, whereby communities receive significant benefits from wildlife. For example through employment in lodges or as anti-poaching rangers, revenue sharing from tourism activities and trophy hunting. Over the years, this has resulted in conservancies becoming the custodians of wildlife, a crucial relationship that determines the success of conservation. With the tourism industry being in a crisis, communities and conservancies become amongst the hardest hit, which is a serious threat to the conservation of wildlife species including rhino, elephant and lion. TOSCO usually supports conservation initiatives through collecting membership fees from tour operators, but in the light of today's crisis we need to adjust and welcome donations from the wider public to ensure that our communities and wildlife are safeguarded throughout this crisis. In the end, although our immediate priority is to protect people from the coronavirus and prevent its spread, our long-term response must be to tackle habitat and biodiversity loss.

 As the executive director of the UN Environment Programme, Andersen, stated: "We are intimately interconnected with nature, whether we like it or not. If we don’t take care of nature, we can’t take care of ourselves. And as we hurtle towards a population of 10 billion people on this planet, we need to go into this future armed with nature as our strongest ally.”

 

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  1. Save Namibian Conservation

    One of TOSCO's core activities is to preserve wildlife through supporting those communities bearing the costs of living with wildlife. Benefits through tourism turn this threat into an opportunity and make communities the best custodians of wildlife. Funds collected will be used to support these rural communities in the absence of benefits from tourism due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

    It is crucial that tolerance towards wildlife remains to exist amongst these communities, as all conservation efforts in Namibia rely on this, including that of anti-poaching. We identified continued field allowances for gameguards, lion rangers and rhino rangers as a priority throughout the crisis, as they are at the "frontline" of conservation and play a crucial role in anti-poaching, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and raising awareness amongst their communities regarding the sustainable use of natural resources. They are the "boots on the ground" and thanks to their dedicated work, there has been a sustained rise in wildlife populations over the past years. 

    Other priorities that we aim to fund is conflict management practices and compensations for livestock losses due to human wildlife conflict. In partnership with WWF Namibia we develop guidelines for the distribution of funds, to ensure that the funds target priority areas. The funds will then be channelled through our field partners for this program, accordingly, which are the Lion Ranger Program, Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), IRDNC and Elephant Human Relations Aid (EHRA)

     

    GiveToday offers you an opportunity to donate any amount to TOSCO.After you have entered the amount you will have the option to pay via Card or EFT (Bank Transfer).“

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