Conservation News and Articles

Community statement submitted at the 2019 African Wildlife Economy Summit


DECLARATION

Voices of the Communities: A New Deal for rural communities and wildlife and natural resources

We, the over 40 community representatives of 12 countries across Africa have met prior to Africa’s Wildlife Economy Summit, to tell the stories of our experiences of living with and among Africa’s wonderful wildlife that our forebears watched over and cared for from time immemorial as an integral part of their societies’ culture, traditions and economies. We have discussed the role of communities in managing wildlife resources on their land – bearing the costs of living among them sustainably over centuries, despite the continuing legacy of dis-empowering colonial laws and policies. We are the front line of defence in protecting natural resources and combatting illegal wildlife trade.

Wild animal anthrax is a natural occurrence in many areas in southern Africa. Outbreaks for this year have for example been reported in Kenya, Botswana, Namibia and now in Lesotho. The latest outbreak in Lesotho is in the region of Maseru. A 10km radius has been quarantined. Animal movement between Free State and Lesotho are restricted.

On 8 November 2017, the VulPro vulture conservation centre near the Hartbeespoort Dam in North West Province, made history when it released 35 vultures back into the wild at the Nooitgedacht Cape Vulture breeding colony. It was the first release of its kind on the Africa continent and an important milestone in a vulture conservation programme to supplement natural populations of the Cape Vulture and the African White-backed Vulture.

The department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry has moved to clarify the legal status of wild animals. It is important to note that animals listed under the Animal Improvement Act, 1998 (Act No. 62 of 1998) (AIA) are still subject to the requirements of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) (NEMBA) and provincial conservation legislation.

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