Khetha Webinars Spotlight Successful Strategies to Combat Wildlife Crime in the Greater Kruger

Sports projects in the Greater Kruger area aim to build social cohesion to help address crime and influence pro-conservation behaviour. Picture: Supplied / GKEPF

Sports projects in the Greater Kruger area aim to build social cohesion to help address crime and influence pro-conservation behaviour. Picture: Supplied / GKEPF

Published Mar 16, 2024


Efforts to combat wildlife crime in South Africa's Greater Kruger area are gaining momentum, thanks to innovative collaborations and community-driven initiatives.

As the fight against illegal wildlife trade intensifies, stakeholders are exploring new strategies to protect the country's rich biodiversity.

A series of Khetha webinars, organised by Jive Media Africa and Roving Reporters with support from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are shedding light on successful conservation models and inspiring stories of resilience.

These webinars aim to foster dialogue, share best practices, and challenge perceptions of wildlife trade in the Kruger region.

In the first webinar, now dubbed "Shades of Grey," wildlife crime researcher Julian Rademeyer and conservationist Vusi Tshabalala highlighted the multifaceted nature of wildlife crime, citing corruption and governance failures as contributing factors.

Lara Rall from WWF emphasised the importance of effective legislation and enforcement in combating illegal wildlife trade.

The upcoming webinar, scheduled for Wednesday, March 13, will feature Rademeyer chatting to Sharon Haussmann, CEO of the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation (GKEPF), about innovative projects and strategies making a positive impact in the region.

In a pre-webinar interview, Haussmann highlighted recent conservation successes, including a significant decrease in rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park.

However, Haussmann cautioned against complacency, noting that criminal syndicates are shifting their focus to other areas, posing ongoing threats to wildlife.

Rademeyer echoed these concerns, highlighting the interconnectedness of wildlife crime with other forms of organised crime and socio-economic challenges.

One initiative spearheaded by GKEPF is a community sports programme aimed at building resilience within local communities and fostering conservation awareness.

Young athletes from the Greater Kruger area are given opportunities to participate in community sports trials and local leagues, supported by partner organisations like WWF and USAID.

Haussmann also emphasised the importance of integrity management and ranger welfare in combating wildlife crime, alongside robust law enforcement measures. She underscored the need for all stakeholders, including national and provincial parks, to collaborate and strengthen internal systems to address conservation challenges effectively.

To learn more about successful conservation initiatives in the Greater Kruger area, participants are encouraged to register for the upcoming Khetha webinar, "Good News from the Kruger".

Khetha 2024 Story Grants ranging from R10,000 to R50,000 are also on offer to journalists who present thought-provoking story proposals.

Roving Reporters’ Fred Kockott said that proposals must “challenge parochial and international perceptions of wildlife trade in the Kruger area. The aim is to spark new narratives about wildlife trade and its broader social context.”

Journalists can also apply for Khetha 2024 Story Grants to support storytelling projects that promote awareness and community engagement in wildlife conservation efforts.


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