South Africa conservation and the troubles they face
South Africa conservation is the focus of my Eco Insights piece this week I look at the somewhat turbulent relationship between great conservation projects and major poaching issues.
South Africa conservation is a tricky subject. What other country can you think of that is home to some of the most diverse savanna wildlife, has the world’s most dangerous sharks just off the coast and all of which, you the tourist can get up close and personal with? What sounds like a paradise for tourist, actually has its troubles, today we will be discussing South Africa’s troubles with conservation.
South Africa is suffering due to climate change. Declaring some of the worst drought on records in 2017. A constant battle which shows no sign of an easy fix. It’s a constant battle for conservation lands and local communities to not only make money, but to survive. To put this into perspective the South African Western Cape had its worst water shortage in 113 years. As South Africa is one of the more developed countries in Southern Africa, imagine the impact on its neighbours. Whilst we have to manage and support the global push on climate change. It’s easy to think that we will still have plenty of time to see the wildlife in their natural habitat and we’ll survive, but That’s not certain. The other major factor affecting the livelihoods of all involved in South African conservation is poachers.
Why do they poach? Poaching is a completely different, although equally as horrible act as trophy hunting, whilst trophy hunting is done purely for greed and self-ego the act of poaching is done for financial gain, something very hard to stop in such an ecologically fragile area. Poaching is a constant battle for many conservation and safari groups in South Africa, with illegal poaching taking place in the early hours of the morning to avoid sight and done via hit and run methods which are quick and methodical.
Poaching is the illegal act of taking from wildlife whether it be a rhinoceros’s horn, or a zebra’s life without a license or via trespassing. It happens in a number of ways, however the common purpose is for financial gain via the sale of bushmeats, traditional ceremonies and medicines. Studies have proved there are further motives for poaching, the results show that poaching normally takes place before the market season for profit. However in some cases it’s for food and simple survival.
This makes the situation very difficult and often leads to hostility. Trying to enhance conservation in the area due to climate change and supporting animal welfare against poaching is the key for virtually all of South Africa’s eco-tourism businesses. One could argue that South Africa may not have enough of a pull for the tourist if animals weren’t running freely, protected and ensured for the future – however without all this work in the background it doesn’t bode well. The difficulty surrounding poaching, unfortunately is a governmental issue. It’s still illegal, however it’s often not discovered meaning it continues to flourish. With livelihoods on the other side of the story it makes it even more difficult. If it were up to me, the local governments should work with the poachers to support their basic needs for food. If they can’t find any means too, as without the tourist expenditure in such a beautiful area, the whole country would suffer because of it.
Remember, the next time you see poaching in the news, take the time to read it, sign a petition against it and be vocal in your views. Or if you want to get more involved and want a travel experience of a lifetime take a look at these South Africa conservation projects below;