As part of this new initiative ERP aims to:
Pinimiaddress the loss or harm of elephant populations through hunting, trade, human-wildlife conflict, desertification and loss of habitat;
Protect and grow black rhino populations through support of existing, or establishment of new anti-poaching units, participation in and enablement of Namibia custodian programs, and through the provision of new safe havens for population and gene pool development; and
Work with local rural communities with a view to achieving meaningful economic development, and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict.
Although all elephants and rhinos in Namibia will fall within ERP Namibia conservation efforts, there will be a particular focus on black rhino and desert-adapted elephants.
Black rhino is one of the world's most endangered species, listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s ‘Red List’, with numbers that have dropped precipitously (by circa 97%) over the past 60 years, largely because of hunting and poaching.Namibia is home to more than half of the worlds remaining black rhino, of which most are found in National Parks, Custodian Reserves and the vast Damaraland / Kaokoland areas of northwestern Namibia. The rhinos found in these northwestern areas are the last free-roaming desert-adapted rhinos on earth.
Desert elephants or ‘desert-dwelling’ elephants are not a genetically distinct species of elephant, but are African bush elephants with special characteristics. These elephants are found in the Namib desert in Namibia, and exhibit small adaptations to cope with the extreme temperatures and terrain. Some of these adaptions include a smaller body mass (scarcity of food), the ability to survive on less water, and broader feet than the other elephants, for walking in the soft river / desert sands. There are only around 150 desert elephants left, with numbers being affected by hunting, trade, habitat degradation and human-wildlife conflict.