South Africa: Wildlife at Risk As Hunger Encircles Kruger Park


The Kruger National Park is being encircled by a ring of human hunger triggered in part by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Mozambican and Zimbabwean regions that border the park on the north and east are suffering acute food shortages. Meanwhile, the labour-intensive tourism sector on the South African side of the park has collapsed.

The US government, even under Donald Trump, still has some socially useful global services.

One is the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet), an arm of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). A glance at its "Acute Food Insecurity" map reveals an arresting pattern. A huge swathe of Mozambique, including the border areas with the Kruger Park, are shaded orange. That represents the "crisis" level of hunger. The next level is "emergency" followed by "famine". The map of Zimbabwe is also sprinkled orange, with a big chunk on or near the Kruger's northern border. (See map)

Most of southern Africa, including South Africa, is shaded white, which means hunger stress is minimal. That is highly questionable - a plethora of reports shows that many people in this country are hungry and even starving. And among those worst-affected are the millions of South Africans who have...

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