September 24, 2018 / 3:33 PM / 2 months ago

Prince William visits Namibia on conservation tour

Britain's Prince William presents a gift to Namibia's Vice President Nangolo Mbumba during their meeting in Windhoek, Namibia September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Prince William arrived in Namibia on Monday on the first leg of a tour to learn more about wildlife conservation in Africa ahead of a London-based wildlife conference next month.

Namibia is home to the largest black rhino population, at more than 2,000, whose horn is sought after by smugglers.

The Duke of Cambridge, visiting as president of United for Wildlife, which fights illegal trade in wildlife, and patron of Tusk, which promotes conservation, aims to better understand conservation in Namibia, said British High Commissioner to Namibia Kate Airey.

“The prince has been very keen ahead of that conference to talk to government and also to see that experience in the field,” said Airey.

The tour, which will see the prince visit Tanzania and Kenya, precedes the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London next month.

Namibia passed legislation in 1996 giving local communities the power to create their own conservancies and benefit from wildlife on communal land, allowing them to work with private companies to create their own tourism products.

“Our model is very simple but very effective because we involve communities. There is nothing you can do to succeed in conservation of wildlife without involving communities,” said Namibia’s Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta.

Communal conservancies have grown to 82 from four in 1998, according to the Namibia Tourism Board.

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaunga, Editing by William Maclean

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