Garth Owen-Smith - Remembering A Conservation Hero

It is with great sadness and deep respect that we recognise the passing of one of the world’s great conservationists, Garth Owen Smith. Co-founder of Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) and winner of Tusk’s coveted Prince William Award for Conservation in 2015, Garth was the true visionary behind the establishment of community conservation efforts in Namibia.

Under the auspices of IRDNC, Garth led the way for the rest of Africa and showed that wildlife could be entrusted to communities through the creation of conservancies. His sustainability model provided the means for rural communities and livelihoods to benefit from conservation and Tusk is extremely proud to have worked with Garth in recent years and supported his ground breaking efforts in Namibia. We were delighted that in 2018, Tusk’s Royal Patron, The Duke of Cambridge was able to visit Namibia on behalf of the charity and witness for himself the conservancy movement pioneered by Garth and his partner, Dr Margie Jacobsohn. 

His very considerable conservation legacy is assured and the vision he had for the creation of the proposed Ombonde People’s Park in Kunene is one Tusk will continue to support. We send our deepest condolences to Margie, his sons Tuareg and Kyle, and the team at IRDNC.

If you believe in a cause and are prepared to stand up for it with passion and perseverance, you can make a difference. Conserving our natural environment will not make you materially rich, but there is no greater satisfaction than having made our planet a better place to live on, even if it is just in a very small way.
Garth Owen-Smith

Tusk Conservation Awards 2015

Women For Conservation


Founded in the late 1980s, IRDNC played a crucial role in devising the country’s new conservation strategies after independence in 1990. It now cooperates with 55 out of the 84 conservancies in the Kunene and Zambezi regions, promoting community benefits from wildlife management.

How to help

  • Donate

    With your generous support, Tusk can, and will, continue to make a lasting difference for the wildlife and people of Africa.

    Donate Now
  • Fundraise

    There are lots of fun and fantastic ways to get involved and raise much needed funds for Tusk and our work in Africa. We’re here to support you along the way…

    Find Out More
  • Subscribe

    We would love to keep you up to date with news from our projects, events, fundraising campaigns and more. Please join our mailing list to receive our news by email.

    Sign-Up Now