The aspect of heritage which I have chosen to focus on is natural heritage because it consists of many of the aspects that make Namibia diverse and attractive to tourists, that includes wildlife. Due to this being my personal interest, it was necessary for me to find a topic that addresses a wildlife-related problem in the tourism sector. Arguably the biggest/worst problem Namibia is battling, in terms of tourism, is the ongoing poaching of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). This research will bring to light the importance rhinos are to tourism by exploring the interests which the tourists have on them and the purpose of this would be to give the government of Namibia further incentive to protect them and to identify the different, possible measures which can be implemented in Namibia to safeguard the rhinos. The data which I will collect will be obtained from broad discussions in scheduled meetings with certain people in charge of various establishments that conserve the rhinos, such as the Dan Viljoen Game Reserve and the tourists who go there, with simply-constructed questionnaires to obtain different opinions about certain aspects and the rest will be through extensive reading of published literature. I chose Dan Viljoen Game Reserve to be my study area because it is a lot closer to my place of residence than any of the other wilderness areas in Namibia and this hugely solves the problem of transport. In this area I am sure to find knowledgeable people to gather data on rhinos which I need to answer the questions that make up this particular research project and there are some rhinoceros to be found there as well. This research will be qualitative and this is because it will involve exploration in trying to find and understand underlying reasons, motivations and opinions of rhino poaching through discussions with people and extensive literature review. It will involve a specific type of qualitative sampling known as Purposeful Sampling because the tourists which will be chosen to participate in this research will have been chosen according to preselected criteria/condition, which in this case will be their interest in wildlife. Therefore the responses which I would get will be subjective in the sense that each person’s contribution will be different, and although this may be a challenge to generalize it does give diversity in the data which would show my capabilities of creativity in being able to compile information. Field data collection will include the use of a camera, notepad and Voice Recorder. A large portion of my data will consist of the opinions and views of tourists which means that I will have to approach people in a non-threatening but formal manner, and speak in a tone that puts them at ease but still straight forward enough that it gets my point across in order for them to understand what they are being asked. The possible problems I may encounter while conducting this research are transport and suitable accommodation throughout the duration of field work and data collection (expenses). Trying to capture the attention of fast moving tourists may also be a challenge as would asking busy managers to take time away from their tight schedules to answer questions. I hope to overcome these challenges by presenting my research in a way that would make it seem like a valuable contribution to the establishment.
Heritage tourism has been of particular interest to me in the four years which I have studied it at the University of Namibia and this is because it includes so many of the establishments that make Namibia very popular with tourists from around the globe. Heritage tourism refers to the observation of historical sites, various human cultures and natural resources such as wildlife. I chose to focus on this sector because it can be considered to be the largest income-generating source in Namibia due to it encompassing nearly all the tourism attractions that make Namibia as desirable tourist-attracting country, ranging from those that educate not only international visitors but also locals about historical events that shaped the country to be what it is today, to the national park with its diversity of wildlife which has been the subject of many documentary films and conservation battles. The aspect of heritage which I have chosen to focus on is natural heritage because it consists of many of the aspects that make Namibia diverse and attractive to tourists. Natural heritage is most often thought about in terms of landscapes and ecological systems, including flora and fauna and is valued for its aesthetic qualities, its contribution to ecology and its provision of natural habitats for the biodiversity. I am focusing on what is considered to be a tangible aspect of natural heritage, wildlife. Due to this being my personal interest, it was necessary for me to find a topic that addresses a wildlife-related problem in the tourism sector. Arguably the biggest/worst problem Namibia is battling, in terms of tourism, is the ongoing poaching of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). As a student who has studied Tourism Management, I understand that wildlife, particularly the aptly named Big Five of which rhinos are part, plays a big role in the economic stability of Namibia and therefore the loss of these magnificent pachyderms would be considered a failure in conservation of our natural heritage and a severe loss of the country’s natural resources. Wildlife forms a great part of the diverse heritage of Namibia, considering that it is what attracts the most tourists into the country and what makes the country a desirable tourist destination. However, the very wildlife that generates so much income is under threat from exploitation from the people. The black and white rhinoceros, one of two sub-species which make up the second largest terrestrial mammal, are under threat from poaching. The act of killing mature animals for their two horns is what makes the problem an ongoing battle for the tourism sector and what makes it the focus of my research. I have observed the devastation of what harm humans can bring to wildlife, particularly when the demand for monetary gain exceeds the value of the animal as a source of admiration and tourism. It is a problem that is common in most of southern and eastern Africa, where the demand for ivory has led to the demise and near extinction of both sub-species of rhinoceros. My interest is to find solutions to the problem of rhino poaching and investigate how the heritage sector of tourism is affected by the loss of the species. In Namibia, both sub-species of rhino have a small population of about 5000 individuals, according to recent surveys by Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), and that number could go down even further with the influx of poaching for rhino horn which has decimated the species to the level of being critically endangered in not only Namibia but in the rest of Africa as well. This research will bring to light the importance rhinos are to tourism by exploring the interests which the tourists have on them and the purpose of this would be to give the government of Namibia further incentive to protect them. I will be looking into the two sub-species of rhino in an effort to understand their distribution (through online literature) and link it to why one species may be more vulnerable than the other and this would give an idea to the government on how to better manage those areas. I will be exploring all the different ways in which poaching can be reduced with extensive reading and discussions. The data which I will collect will be obtained from broad discussions in scheduled meetings with certain people in charge of various establishments that conserve the rhinos, such as the Dan Viljoen Game Reserve and the tourists who go there, with simply-constructed questionnaires to obtain different opinions about certain aspects and the rest will be through extensive reading of published literature.
Wildlife, particularly the aptly named Big Five of which rhinoceros are part, attracts many tourists in Namibia and this means that rhinoceros should be protected considering that they contribute greatly to the tourism industry which is the third most productive sector of the economy. Despite their importance to tourism, rhinoceros are being poached at an alarming rate in Namibia (as well as across southern and eastern Africa) due to the heavy demand for their horns to be sold in the black market in other continents. If nothing is done to find realistic measures to reduce poaching and address this problem in Namibia, both sub-species of rhinoceros will go extinct in less than two decades to come.
Significance of Research
This research will find solutions to the decline of the rhino population in Namibia by poaching and further conserve the species as part of our heritage. This research will bring to light the importance rhinos are to tourism by exploring the interests the tourists have on them. The purpose of this would be to give the government further incentive to protect them. The possible measures that I will suggest from carrying out this research would benefit the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and Save the Rhino Trust (SRT, an NGO) by giving further ideas on how to reduce poaching or even the overall demand for rhino horn. All this would prevent further killing of Namibia’s already dwindling rhino population and ensure that those that we have left are preserved for the visual enjoyment of tourists who bring along with them the much-needed income that contributes greatly to the government revenue that benefits the people in the economy and society.
? Which of the two sub-species of rhino are tourists most interested in seeing and why?
? Would the absence of rhinos affect the visitor experience? (tourists)
? What would be the possible measures to take to protect rhinos in Dan Viljoen?
Aims/Objectives (in statement form)
• To provide information on the two different sub-species of rhinoceros in Namibia to better understand their distribution in relation to vulnerability to poachers.
• To explore the ways in which game reserves, like Dan Viljoen, protect the rhinos and why some techniques are more successful/logical than others
• To explore the interests that tourists have in seeing rhinoceros and what impact there would be on tourism should rhinos disappear
• To explore the ways in which the Ministry of Environment and Tourism tries to reduce poaching.
Study Population/Focus Group ; Study Area
The people from whom I expect to obtain information for this research will mostly be the tourists and managers at Daan Viljoen Game Reserve, which is situated about 25 kilometers from Windhoek. I chose the tourists to be part of my focus group because it is they who are most likely to be affected by the loss of certain wildlife and it is they who bring most of the much-needed revenue which the government in Namibia depends on to better the facilities around the country, and the revenue they bring has and always will depend on the wildlife which they want to see, notably the rhinoceros. I chose the managers of the game reserve to also be part of my focus group because they are the ones to oversee all the wildlife that attracts tourist revenue and it is they who are most knowledgeable about the protection of rhinos in the premises. I chose Dan Viljoen Game Reserve to be my study area because it is a lot closer to my place of residence than any of the other wilderness areas in Namibia and this hugely solves the problem of transport. In this area I am sure to find knowledgeable people to gather data on rhinos which I need to answer the questions that make up this particular research project and there are some rhinoceros to be found there as well.
Established Organizations that would benefit from this research:
Save the Rhino Trust (SRT): this organization has worked tirelessly to protect the rhinos, found in the Namib Desert, for many years. Its success has enabled the rhino population to increase in Namibia and it is an accomplishment that they hold a lot of pride in. Its headquarters are in Swakopmund and operates in a remote area about a 10 000 square Kilometers. The area has no fencing and works closely with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, local communities and NGOs. Website http://www.savetherhinotrust.org/)
(Qualitative Research ; Purposeful Sampling ; Critical Case Sampling)
This research will be, in general, Qualitative because it will involve exploration in trying to find and understand underlying reasons, motivations and opinions of rhino poaching through discussions with people and extensive literature review. It will involve a specific type of qualitative sampling known as Purposeful Sampling because the tourists which will be chosen to participate in this research will have been chosen according to preselected criteria/condition, which in this case will be their interest in wildlife. Under Purposeful Sampling, I will be doing Critical Case Sampling which will involve me using the limited resources to explore the aspects of a single case, which in this case is the poaching of rhinos in Namibia. I find this method appropriate for this research because I will be focusing on the views of different people regarding the matter and what they have to say is, in this research, more valuable than the number of people I will focus on. This implies that qualitative research, which has a lot to do with non-numerical data, will create more of an open communication with people (perspective focus group/study population) in the sense that they are free to express their thoughts and experiences regarding the issue with depth and in detail. Therefore the responses which I would get will be subjective in the sense that each person’s contribution will be different, and although this may be a challenge to generalize it does give diversity in the data which would show my capabilities of creativity in being able to compile information.
Data Collection Instruments
Field data collection
? Voice Recorder
? Structured questionnaires
? Voice Recorder
Field data analysis
Method of Data Collection
Considering that my research will be qualitative, I will be seeking out the opinions and different views from different tourists at the Dan Viljoen Game Reserve. To obtain this I will be issuing out questionnaires, with simply-constructed questions to enquire about certain aspects which I want to find out. With full understanding that some people will be busy in tight schedules, my questionnaires, which will number 100 at minimum, would take a maximum of 20 minutes to complete. I will be issuing them to every available tourist on site without any form of pre-judgement. In addition to questionnaires, I will also conduct short interviews, not more than 30 minutes, with the managers on the premises, and tourists, with a voice recorder and note pad. I choose to use a voice recorder because it will be more effective in retaining information that is provided verbally and can be listened to and analysed at a later period, as opposed to having to stop the interviewee mid-sentence in order to write down what is said! I will, of course, be conducting myself in a professional manner with patience and understanding of the communication skills of other people, and this would make tourists and managers more willing to be asked questions and interviewed, and they will be more likely to feel free to express their views.
I understand that carrying out a research requires me to consider how my actions would affect the people I will be focusing on. This emphasizes the importance of interpersonal skills which basically has to do with knowing to communicate and interact with other people effectively. A large portion of my data will consist of the opinions and views of tourists which means that I will have to approach people in a non-threatening but formal manner, and speak in a tone that puts them at ease but still straight forward enough that it gets my point across in order for them to understand what they are being asked. I will consider the time schedules of the people and not impose myself to force them to participate, but rather give them an impression that their participation will be completely voluntary and whatever information they provide will be treated with the at most confidentiality. The data which I will collect will be obtained by me with my own resources, only with occasional assistance and the data which will be presented will be from my own findings which will be backed up with the appropriately cited findings of previous research articles of others through extensive literature reviews. The aim of my research project will be to neither incriminate people nor show incompetence of the organization, but rather to provide new ideas for them and contribute to what they have been striving to achieve.
In predicting the possible time it would take me to go to the study areas, collect the data, analyze the data and present it in the research paper, it would take a minimum of eight months before the research can be presented for evaluation.
The possible problems I may encounter while conducting this research are transport and suitable accommodation throughout the duration of field work and data collection (expenses). Trying to capture the attention of fast moving tourists may also be a challenge as would asking busy managers to take time away from their tight schedules to answer questions. I hope to overcome these challenges by presenting my research in a way that would make it seem like a valuable contribution to the establishment (i.e. finding ways to protect rhinos for the enjoyment of tourists and thus retain that which keeps the organization in existence) .
Published Academic Articles/Previous Research Projects
Analysis of Rhino Poaching in KwaZuluNatal, South Africa by Caroline Lockwood
The research was carried out in the Kwazulu Natal province in South Africa and the study population were the white and black rhinoceros in Kwazulu Natal. The problem statement was that the rhinos were being poached at an unprecedented rate in South Africa. While the total rhino harvest rates (trophy hunting and poaching) are not yet considered unsustainable to the overall South African rhino populations, the rate at which the poaching is increasing and the involvement of organised criminals (national and international) is a major concern. The aim of this study is to investigate which spatial and temporal variables or combination of, best explain the distribution of rhino poaching patterns in KZN South Africa, along with an exploration of local rhino property managers and owners’ attitudes regarding poaching and rhino protection costs.
RHINO POACHING: A NEW FORM OF ORGANISED CRIME by Moses Montesh
This qualitative research took place in South Africa and the particular study area was the Kruger National Park. The study population were the white and black rhinoceros in Kruger National Park. The identified problem was the rhinos are facing a new onslaught of poaching for their horns and the objective of this research was outlining the background of rhino poaching in South Africa and the role of crime syndicates in this. The increase in rhino horn has led to an increase in poaching in South Africa, and the horn are exported to China and Vietnam for use in traditional medicine, particularly in curing cancer as is believed but yet to be scientifically proven. Surprisingly, some of the citizens of South Africa have been partly responsible, considering that they help the poachers get into the country in exchange for money. The author found that because rhino horn is desirable in the economy it has led to the increase in poaching. Law enforcement alone is not enough to deter criminals. His recommendation was the fencing along game parks should be maintained as well as perimeter roads being swept on a regular basis. He also insisted that patrols be implemented to make sure there are no poachers operating secretly.
Poaching Rhino Horn in South Africa and Mozambique by Kenly Fenio
This quantitative research took place in South Africa and Mozambique. The study population were the white and black rhinos in Kruger National Park (South Africa) and Sabi Game Park (Mozambique). The identified problem was the difficulty the government experiences in stopping the poaching that is happening in South Africa which further reduces the already vulnerable rhino population. The author’s main objective was to examine the causes of rhino poaching, with key concepts being counter-incentive measures which can be used by governments and conservation bodies. Some of the key things discovered in this research was that poachers include South African people who often facilitate the poaching activities, and this would be against the law of the country. The author identified some key drivers, which are the factors that encourage people to hunt the rhinos. The author also found some counterviews and these are the options that can be done to discourage poaching. Some of the people interviewed in this research were enthusiastic about giving information about poaching activities while others weren’t, which was one of the difficulties experienced by the author during data collection. In South Africa, some poachers often do not communicate with their friends in fear of being targeted by the government or another poacher possibly wanting to steal the ivory for themselves.
Strategic planning of an Anti-poaching by Greta Josefsson, Beata Klein, Emma Kolar, Rebecca Lewis-Olsson, Linnea Lindström and Andreas Mann
This research, which took place in Kenya, was both qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative approaches produce quantifiable data that in turn can be used for qualitative interpretations and Qualitative methods were used to understand the context of the problem. The study population were the black rhinos in Tsavo National park. The identified problem was that black rhinos are almost extinct in the wild and this is largely due to poaching. The authors’ objective was to determine the value of rhinos in various places across Africa, and to use this value when analysing the potential for the government to implement policies that would alter poaching activities. Some key concepts picked up in this research were anti-poaching, conservation and sustainability variables. The authors found that the demand for rhino horn increases with the market demands and this creates lucrative businesses. The authors recommended that more surveys be done by future researchers for more, accumulative data.
A Game of Horns by Annette Hübschle
This qualitative research took place in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, China, Vietnam and Swaziland. The concern that the author had (problem statement) is the continuous export of rhino horns to South East Asia. The author’s aim for this research was to find out why the illegal or black market for ivory is so resilient and difficult to stop. One the key concepts picked up being market exchange between the African countries and the countries in South East Asia. Some of the findings by the author was that the value of rhinoceros horn is what stops conservation among consumer markets. Rhino horn is obtained not only through secretive poachers but also trophy hunters who are licensed. The author recommended that the government should use a different approach, such as less investment of so much money on anti-poaching activities and more on supporting initiatives in local communities who can oversee the wildlife. The author also suggested that future researchers should consult all communities regardless of hierarchy or social status and this is to include the voices/opinions of marginalized groups.
Rhino Rescue Project by Lorinda Hern and Charles van Niekerk
This qualitative research was conducted in South Africa and the study population were the black and white rhinos in the Lion and Rhino Nature Reserve. The authors’ aim for this research was to find out if the devaluating rhino horn would prevent or dramatically reduce the demand and consequently reduce poaching. The problem identified by the author was that rhino horns are targeted with the increase in publicity. Poaching remains a problem despite conservation efforts and campaigns. A key concept written about is horn devaluation – using not only the toxins and/or dye but also powerful psychological and but also impacts of perception. The authors later concluded that such acts, including the discolouring of the horns, made no change to the poaching rate. A recommendation from the authors was convincing conservation bodies that discolouring the rhino horn or reducing its appeal with toxins would secure the animals.
The Costs of Illegal Wildlife Trade: Elephant and Rhino by Lucy Smith and Lucas Porsch
The data compiled in this research, which was both qualitative and quantitative, was collected in Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The authors found the problem to be the rapid increase in poaching of rhinos for their ivory and the slow reproduction of the animals means a slow population increase. Their aim was to investigate how CITES protected species are illegally traded and which data sources and methods can be used to reduce the trading, poaching and increase conservation success. CITES stands for Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species and it is a treaty that imposes laws that prevent the smuggling of vulnerable species of animals from the wild, particularly addressing the issue of rhino poaching. IUCN stands for International Union for Conservation of Nature. It focuses on sustainable management to preserve natural resources. The authors found that the most immediate effect of the illegal trade in endangered species is the effect it has on populations, global biodiversity and ecosystems. The authors also found that the economic losses caused by rhino poaching are less than the losses caused by elephants mainly due to the much higher occurrence of elephants being poached by trophy hunters, due in part to the fact that there are more elephants than there are rhinos. A recommendation from the authors to future researchers is to go beyond focusing on the importance of the sector responsible for monitoring wildlife and attempt to measure the economic value of the other sectors.
Story books written in reference to the research I intend to conduct and the literature listed above.
Killing for Profit by Julian Rademeyer
The books discovers that the worth of rhino horn is more than gold in many countries. It focuses on an investigation that took two years, entering what can be considered to be dangerous areas with merciless criminals and syndicates who are relentless when trying to achieve their prize. The book highlights the negative aspects of human society, such as greed and corruption among government officials who choose to assist the poachers for monetary gain. This of course makes it harder for conservationists, who are in a never ending battle to save what rhinoceros are left. This species has been around for about fifty million years and what small populations are left are threatened by secretive trades among poaching operations, which are exposed by the author who describes them to be scoundrels, killers and even conmen disguised as government officials. The book follows the battle between conservationists and poachers frontline along the Mekong River.
Operation Lock and the War on Rhino Poaching by John Hanks
This book, exploring events about a quarter of a century before its publication, emphasizes that the ongoing problem of rhino poaching should be addressed equally as aggressive as the poachers do, as suggested by members of the World Wide Fund, including the author who critized some of the government policies responsible for protecting wildlife. They implemented a secretive initiative, what is known as Operation Lock, which has headquarters in South Africa and it was funded by Prince Bernhard and has connections in Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia. The purpose of the organization is to train game rangers, catch the poachers and expose the trade. Many people did not agree with this venture because it was during the apartheid period in South Africa during the 1980s and unfortunately the venture was denied by the World Wide Fund and John Hanks, the author of the book who was proactive in the campaigns who continues to address the problems and cases of rhino poaching, took the blame for it.
Ivory, Horn and Blood: Behind the Elephant and Rhinoceros Poaching Crisis by Ronald Orenstein
The book is about the secretive crimes in countries that most people do not visit, where the trade in ivory be it elephant tusks or rhinoceros horns, has implications on the last populations of these pachyderms. The author also points out that these crimes of poaching affect human societies as well, in aspects of crime, corruption and violence. Many elephants and rhinos have been slaughtered by poachers with automatic weapon, despite the ban on the trade in ivory in 1989. The book highlights some people who have been involved in the fight against ivory hunting, including the author, Ronald Orenstein, himself. The occurrence of wars among African nations has prompted the rise in poaching again, as believed by the author with ivory smuggling increasing the last few years coinciding with the increase in market demands in Vietnam and this further shows the seriousness of the problem which the last remaining populations of wild, free-ranging rhinoceros and elephants face today.
The Rhino Keepers: Struggle for Survival by Clive Walker and Anton Walker
This books explores the reasons for the decline of rhino populations in Southern Africa, in reference to the rise in the poaching, smuggling and illegal trade in their horns which often times are hacked off the face of the dead animal. The author brings up the point that no other animal species on earth faces as great a threat to survival as rhinoceros. The book highlights the statistics of the poaching, mentioning that around 5000 and 21000 black and white rhinos, respectively, are left in the wild, but these are slaughtered by poachers on an almost daily basis, whether with or without the government knowing about it. The book shows the difficulty that conservationists face in trying to oppose the poaching when rhino horn is considered to have a monetary value that is worth more than gold, particularly in markets across most of Asia. The author questions how people manage their natural heritage and gives readers a personal responsibility in ensuring the survival of the rhinoceros.
The Last Rhinos by Lawrence Anthony
The author of this book emphasizes that the northern white rhinoceros in Congo is almost extinct and this prompted him to act, in worry that if nothing is done to stop the poaching the rhino would be the largest terrestrial mammal to go extinct after the woolly mammoth. The book shows how the author attempts to save what northern white rhinos are left, taking into account that the black market in Asia has made the poaching of these amazing animals a dangerous venture that threatens not only the animals but also the game rangers and anti-poaching patrol that try to protect them. The author, Lawrence Anthony, highlighted that the last refuge that the northern white rhinos have is an area notorious for rebel groups of people living deep in jungle habitat and the author pleaded for them to assist in protecting the rhinos that share the area