TOSCO | Tourism Supporting Conservation

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April 29, 2015
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Compiled Sanet van Zijl

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world- indeed it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

This is exactly what TOSCO is – a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens that are changing the world. A few years ago a group of tourism operators got together after a pride of lions got poisoned in the North West of Namibia. They realized that those lions were very important for the biodiversity of the environment and essential for tourism in the country, thus they had to contribute to their conservation from then on.

TOSCO Trust was founded in 2012 to generate funds to support rural people in their efforts to safeguard the natural resources used by tourism, especially wildlife, on Namibia’s communal lands. The funds raised by the Trust is also used to provide local scientists with satellite collars that are fitted on the lions and are then used to track their positions and share the positions with the local communities and in turn anticipate human-predator conflicts.

A-pride-of-desert-lion-lounge-on-the-warm-sands-of-the-Hoarusib-River,-Namibia,-before-the-night-hunt

Desert Lion Project

Apr_2_2012

Desert Lion Conservation. Photo courtesy TOSCO

TOSCO’s mission is to contribute to ensuring that visiting Namibia’s wild places is as enjoyable in the future as it is now. Therefore, TOSCO also engages in promoting responsible tourism in Namibia. Whether being a concerned individual, traveler or tourism professional, we all have an interest in Namibia’s people, places and wildlife. 

They recognize that visitors have a responsibility towards the places and people they visit. They endeavor to minimize negative and maximize positive impact, especially by creating social and economic benefits to local communities; caring for and respecting local cultures and protecting biodiversity. They also strive to provide a communication platform for the stakeholders, especially the tourism industry, conservation organizations and local people, and to increase awareness for conservation issues and responsible tourism in Namibia.

On the local front TOSCO cares for the well-being and cultural identity of the people by respecting their conservation efforts:

In any cultural experience, quality is all about who is in control. Demonstration villages (like in Puros or Tsumkwe), where traditional habitants are the decision makers/ owners and involved in funds management are those that should be supported. It is the best way to learn more about their culture while controlling influence from tourism and supporting local initiative benefitting the whole community.

Currently, the TOSCO Trust is involved in various conservation efforts across our country. These projects may vary from year to year depending on the needs identified and funds available.

This is what they got up to in 2014:

  • In support of the Desert Lion Conservation Project they have donated 1 satellite collar and 10 solar panels for the Mowe Bay Station.
  • They donated 5 solar panels to the Kwando Canivore Project: The solar panels provide enough power to the project’s base camp to process data retrieved from camera traps.
  • They contributed N$54 000 to Save The Rhino Trust to set up mobile camps to be used by anti-poaching patrols in the field.
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Setting up a mobile base camp. Photo courtesy TOSCO

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Mobile base camp. Photo courtesy TOSCO

  • At the Wereldsend Camp they donated 7 solar panels: This venue is used extensively for training, workshops and meetings involving CBNRM and local conservancies as well as conservation organizations like SRT and DLC.
  • For the Lion Rangers at Puros they sponsored the annual salary of one lion ranger and field equipment including uniforms, tents and necessary materials.
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Puros Lion Rangers in their new uniforms. Photo courtesy TOSCO

  • They helped to maintain the Huab lion-proof kraal as part of Huab Lion Management: This upgrade helps local communities to benefit directly from tourism, reduce cattle- lion conflict and increase pradtor tolerance from the farmer.
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A cattle-herder with his lion-proof fence destroyed by elephants. Photo courtesy TOSCO

  • As part of the Rhino Rangers Program they donated food rations and a patrol bonus of N$15 000. Today there is already a trained community-based rhino monitoring force of 26 rangers across 13 conservancies.
  • They have initiated and currently facilitate a voluntary conservation contribution of N$50 per guest per day for their nature-focused activities, as well as an additional N$50 per guest per night for wild camping at Torra, Sesfontein and Puros conservancies.
  • They sponsored and distributed 5000 of their own responsible travel brochures

To learn more about TOSCO follow this link: http://tosco.org/about/

Or visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/responsibletravelcommunity

TOSCO: Connecting Tourism to Conservation & Communities for the benefit of ALL!

Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. With riveting stories, first-hand encounters and magnificent photographs showcasing tourism, travel, nature, adventure and conservation, TNN is the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to exploring Namibia. Travel News Namibia is published in five different editions per year. These include four English- language editions and one German. Travel News Namibia is for sale in Namibia and South Africa.

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