South Africa: Rhino Month - the Juxtaposition of Conservation and Community

opinion

At a time of unprecedented global uncertainty and insecurity owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the often-overlooked focus on conservation is still crucial due to the far-reaching economic impacts of sustainable conservation on the environment, animals, and people.

Ecotourism, understood as responsible travel to natural areas that help conserve the environment while sustaining the local people, is a key sector of South Africa's overall tourism arena. Ecotourism translates to sustainable gains in respect of improving the livelihoods of local communities. That is thanks to the revenue it brings to create jobs, provide education opportunities and improve infrastructure, including better roads, water supply and sanitation.

South Africa's magnificent flora and fauna, among them the world-famous Big Five, is a major drawcard for tourists. When we do not protect our wildlife, we risk losing that all-important tourist spend. And without it, it is the local communities who will ultimately suffer most. As such, funding that is directed to wildlife conservation is an investment in this asset, which, in turn, drives economic value for people, too.

As we mark the 10th anniversary of World Rhino Month this September, it is appropriate to emphasise why this cause is about so much more than protecting these...

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