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Text and photographs Nina van Schalkwyk
O n Monday, July 24 at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC), the Hunters Against Poaching Trust (HUAP) kicked off their latest project for the conservation of Namibia’s wildlife. The project involves the sculpture of a life-size rhino by French sculptor Gé Pellini, which will be auctioned off to obtain funds for the trust.
Known for his simple yet elegant style, Mr Pellini has a penchant for the horned animal. A miniature bronze rhino sculpture by the artist will serve as the model for this massive marble work. The miniature has an elongated horn, with a rough texture that echoes the rhino’s wild nature, which the final sculpture will have as well. Under Mr Pellini’s hands, the 9 tons of white Karibib marble will transform into a piece of art.
A Noble Cause
HUAP is the brain-child of the Namibian Professional Hunters Association (NAPHA). Danene van der Westhuyzen, president of NAPHA, explained HUAP’s vision: to save Namibian wildlife. For her, the project is the combination of two Namibian treasures for eternity: rhino and marble. Not only that, but the eventual auction of the sculpture would fund HAUP’s work.
HUAP aims to create awareness about poaching. Together with MET and other sponsors, they hope to raise much-needed funding for the cause. The money raised will be used to combat all areas of poaching in Namibia. Previous projects financed training and equipment. Azarro, Namibia’s first ever sniffer dog, was a result of HUAP’s previous auction. HUAP works with people on the ground to create solutions. Surveillance, awareness, and education are part of their vision, and like most in conservation, they preach the sustainable use of wildlife.
Conservation is Everyone’s Game
Mr Colgar Sikopo, Director of Parks and Wildlife, delivered an address on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET). He called on Namibians to take part in the fight against poaching. He quoted Edmund Burke, who said: “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Education and awareness, he stressed, were important to halt poaching.
The public can view the process of Pellini’s sculpting on the terrace at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) until August 24. A Gala Dinner on August 31 will take place at the Windhoek Country Club and Casino. There, the life-sized rhino, a variety of hunting adventures, jewellery, wines, nature excursions, and more, will be auctioned. International art collectors can take part through live stream bidding. Tickets are available at N$1000 per person or N$9000 for a corporate table of ten. To book, contact Mona at +264 81 162 0977 or Maria at +264 81 474 3960, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .