Monday 3rd March is World Wildlife Day*. A day to celebrate the wonder of our natural world, but also day to reflect on "our" impact and our collective vision for the future.
South Africa is a country rich in biodiversity, including rare and endangered species. A country this rich is also the target for illicit dealers in the illegal trade of rare and endangered species. South Africa is a signatory to the CITIES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
"With 180 Member States, CITES remains one of the world's most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, housing, health care, ecotourism, cosmetics or fashion.
CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.
CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973." sources http://www.cites.org/
A Black rhino emerges from the forest. Threatened by the on-going rhino poaching crisis.
South Africa faces numerous challenges in the protection and regulation of the trade in fauna and flora. The scurge of rhino poaching is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with the illegal trade in fauna and flora crossing the entire spectrum of species; Abalone, Haworthia's, beetles, reptiles, Kokerbome, ivory; are the start of a very long list.
A young Abalone in the inter-tidal zone. Abalaone is a sought after delicacy in the Asian market. Over-fishing and poaching threaten its local survival.
As we celebrate World Wildlife Day and the intrinisic value that all fauna and flora hold, remind yourself of the role you have to play in the protection and conservation of all species of fauna and flora and the habitat they require to secure their long-term survival.
We will protect and conserve what we know and understand and do not fear. Education is the key.
Our conservation agencies, NGO's and people taking up the plight of a range of species deserve our support and encouragement. We have an extremely robust network of protected areas across the country, supported by some of the most progressive environmental legislation in the world.
Dwesa-Cwebe Coastal Forest Reserve | Eastern Cape
Augrabies Falls National Park | Northern Cape
Ukhalamba-Drakensberg Mountains in Kwa-Zulu Natal
The Wolfberg Arch in the Cederberg Wilderness Area | Western Cape
This is further supported by landowners who have become stewards of the natural bounty that they own, forsaking short term gain for long term prosperity by securing critical land parcels. Maintaining connectivity in the landscape, protecting critical habitat, restoring ecological corridors and adopting sustainable farming practices are all encompassed in the many stewardship programmes across the country.
Connectivity and habitat protection is criticial for the survival of many species. A Cape Hare feeds on shrubs.
The Blue Crane, South Africa's National Bird. Sustainable farming practices are important to their survival.
The African Lion. Reliant on protected areas for its long-term survival.
African Conservation Photography aims to use imagery to inspire and inform, create awareness and evoke action and is our small contribution to conservation action.
Trek-net fishers launch their boat. Traditional fishing practices support local livlihoods, but large scale commercial fishing threatens many of these communities who cant compete for the limited resources both target. Combined with over-fishing and reduced fish stocks only time will tell what impact this will have on our way of life. A scenario played out throughout the world were there is competition for natural resources.
*On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) decided to proclaim March 3, the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as World Wildlife Day, to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. In its resolution, the General Assembly reaffirmed the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions, including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic, to sustainable development and human well-being.The General Assembly took note of the outcome of the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, held in Bangkok from 3 to 14 March 2013, in particular Resolution Conf. 16.1 designating 3 March as World Wildlife Day, in order to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora, and recognized the important role of CITES in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of species (source Wikipedia)