Durban - AS the world commemorates World Wildlife Day on Wednesday, South African organisations that work hard to ensure animals are protected spoke on what they felt were the most important issues needing to be addressed.
According to the UN: “The animals and plants that live in the wild have an intrinsic value and contribute to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of human well-being and to sustainable development.
World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that their conservation provides to people.”
The organisation said the day also reminded everyone of the need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and the reduction of species that has been caused by humans, which has wide ranging effects.
Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said they hoped for a peaceful co-existence between human beings and animals.
Mntambo said in the province there was a lot of human and wildlife conflict and this happened when animals went out of nature reserves and into areas humans inhabited.
Mntambo also pointed out the progress being made and said people were enjoying nature reserves more and learning about them through hiking activities offered in them.
“It’s not only tourists who are getting in the act, but villagers who lived near nature reserves are now a key part in the fight against rhino poaching activities by giving tip-offs on potential poaching activities,” he said.
Mntambo said he hoped communities could get jobs and benefit economically from activities around wildlife activities.
The World Wildlife Fund for Nature said a new programme they have launched would help them to connect farmers with animals.
The organisation embarked on a camera trap programme to help farmers in the Western Cape better understand wildlife.
Manager of the WWF Fruit and Wine Programme Shelly Fuller said: “When landowners see all these amazing creatures captured on camera, it spurs a curiosity to understand their natural veld better and, ultimately, to protect it. With our support, these images can help the farmers make more accurate local biodiversity assessments and they can be shared with our partners, like the Cape Leopard Trust.”
Wednesday to mark the day, the WWF will be removing its panda from its logo.
Executive director, communications and marketing at WWF International, Felicity Glennie Holmes, said: “For the first time in 60 years of acting for nature, we've taken the panda out of our logo. Our iconic panda is one of the most recognised symbols of the conservation movement, and taking it away is a symbolic move we've made to mark World Wildlife Day.”
She said they wanted to show what the world would look like without nature. She said the reason for this was that in less than 50 years human activities would result in a drop of 68% of wildlife populations.