RARE ENDANGERED SPECIES TRUST
The mission of REST Namibia is to initiate and support the scientific and practical study of rare and endangered species in Namibia and to help develop and facilitate solutions to conservation problems among these species at community, national and international level.
The Founder and Director, Maria Diekmann began REST in the year 2000. As their family farm was very near the cliffs of the last breeding Cape Griffons, Maria at first envisioned her role is saving them as a supportive one – helping to raise funds or organize data.
Then one day Art and Pris stayed in her small guesthouse on the farm and discussions led to the plight of the remaining vultures on the Waterberg Plateau cliffs. At the time Maria had no idea that Art had actually been very involved in saving another of the worlds endangered vultures – the California condor in the United States. He encouraged her to play a leading role in Namibia’s conservation and work hard to bring together experts around the world for support. This she did and REST soon became recognized world wide for its vulture captures, taking of samples, fitting of satellite trackers, analysis of data and successful releases,
When a birthing pangolin came along a few years later, REST was established enough that Maria could devote 3 ½ months to living with the Mom and pup and monitoring and recording the birth and raising of the pup. This had never been done before in recorded history and while extremely difficult, was the experience of a lifetime. Roxy the mother pangolin trusted Maria to such an extent that within a week of the birth she brought the baby pup to Maria and he climbed on to her. Thus began a love affair with pangolins.
REST chose the “Forgotten 5” species in an effort to focus on animals that do not often get the attention needed by general media unless extra effort is made. They represent biodiversity, which REST feels is key to good conservation.
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