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‘Eco-tourism needs to move away from tigers’

BENGALURU: “Saving the tiger seems to be only focus. We need to move eco-tourism away from tigers,” said Dilip Kumar PJ, former director general of forests and special secretary, Union ministry of environment and forests.

Speaking at a consultation on Karnataka’s eco-tourism policy, Dilip said: “Ecotourism today seems to be about going to pristine forest areas and having a gala time. Some tourists even play loud music, thereby disturbing the wild animals. We need to provide visitors other forms of enjoyment like nature walks, treks and farm visits.”

The event saw stakeholders, including wildlife experts, entrepreneurs, resort owners, NGOs and bureaucrats, discuss ways to ensure better forest management. Introducing activities like treks and eco walks, and exploring new destinations will help, they said.

CB Ram Kumar, managing director, Our Native Village, Bengaluru, said over-exploitation of destinations can be avoided by monitoring visitors. “We can’t stop people from entering forests but we should be able to manage them,” he added.

Arjun Kapoor from Karnataka Ecotourism and Resorts Association said technology has helped tourists become explorers. “As the number of tourists grows, there is a need for the forest department and jungle resorts (both government and private) to arrive at an agreement on tourist management,” he said.
The event was organized by Dharthi, an NGO, in association with IIMB and the forest department.

Need better preparation to tackle fires

MH Swaminath, former secretar, forests, government of Karnataka, said the department needs to be prepared better to tackle forest fires. “The preparation needs to begin in November every year. Since the drought conditions have been severe this year, the chances of forest fires are more,” he added.
Source: timesofindia

#WTMAfrica: Responsible Tourism winners announced

Cape Town – The African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 took place on Thursday at the World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town.

The winners were announced at a ceremony attended by SA’s influential travel bloggers, industry experts and Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom.

Tim Harris, chief executive officer of awards sponsor Wesgro said: “We are pleased to recognise the vision of the Award winners for providing leadership in their respective sectors throughout Africa, and effectively contributing to growing tourism in a sustainable manner. Today, we celebrate their commitment and achievements.”

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The overall winner was Mara Naboisho Conservancy. The judges’ reasons for winning: “Prior to setting up Naboisho Conservancy, four years of consultation with the 554 landowners lead to 94 percent of them signing over their land to a holding company with their own appointed directors who have in turn entered into a management agreement with Naboisho Conservancy.

“The community gets direct and tangible benefits from wildlife conservation; no other activity provides as much income to as many people as Naboisho Conservancy,” according to an article on bizcommunity.com.

South Africa’s own Bushman’s Kloof won overall for Best Contribution to Cultural Heritage Conservation – supported by Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme.

Click here for a full list of winners.

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Source: iol


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Tanzania’s government cautioned over spending conservation revenue

TANZANIA (eTN) – Wildlife and tourism stakeholders are skeptical about the Tanzanian government’s decision to abolish retention of funds, collected by wildlife conservation institutions, for other spending, saying the plan would kill the wildlife parks.

Conservationists from Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es salaam and the northern tourist city of Arusha saying that the government of Tanzania should stop meddling with conservation of wildlife by shelving retention of funds collected from tourists for other spending.

Comments from wildlife conservationists were aired after Tanzanian minister for Finance Mr. Phillip Mpango announced through the parliament a plan by his government to abolish retention scheme which allowed public institutions to bank the operational funds for own spending.

Under the new arrangement by the government of Tanzania, all public institutions, including the national parks, will be required to submit all park fee collections to the Ministry of Finance for retention under the central government control.

Conservationists fear that in this case the national parks and wild game reserves failing to execute their duties for lack adequate funding. Tanzania’s government had earlier allowed the wildlife conservation institutions to spend their own generated funds for strengthening anti-poaching operations.

Wildlife conservation institutions in Tanzania are the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) and Wildlife Division, which has been transformed to Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA).

Friends of wildlife conservation and tourist stakeholders have been worried to see the Tanzania’s government sucking the tourist fees, collected by wildlife parks, for other uses outside conservation activities.

An outspoken member of parliament Mr. Peter Serukamba warned the government over consequences ahead of its own decision to siphon funds from wildlife parks, a situation he said would kill the tourist parks through the lack of adequate funds for protecting the wildlife.

In Tanzania, all wildlife parks are managed by the government through the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, but operating freely through collection of park entry fees collected from visitors, concessions, hunting and other fees remitted by visitors and companies operating inside the parks.

On the other side, Tanzania depends on foreign support for wildlife conservation activities.

Tanzania National Parks is the leading and biggest wildlife conservation institution, commanding and managing 16 parks, which stand as the leading tourist attraction and the source of tourist revenues approaching US$2 billion from 1.2 million tourists, as per recent statistics.

Source: sustainabletourismalliance


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South Africa’s drought is bad for hippos, great for lions

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, South Africa — At South Africa’s biggest national park, wildlife officials are warning of difficult weeks ahead: unless significant rains come, animals will start dying.

This is the harsh reality of life in a country suffering its worst drought in decades. Cattle are already dying, and crops have been destroyed. Many South Africans are dealing with drinking water shortages, and volunteers have been delivering emergency water supplies to communities in dire need.

William Mabasa, spokesman for the Kruger National Park, says that visitors to the park may be upset to see wildlife suffering, but drought is a natural cycle like fire and floods.

“Those with strong genes will survive,” he said.

Hippos will be among the first animals affected. They typically stay cool in rivers and water pools during the heat of the day, going to graze at night — but are now spending more time grazing during daytime as they struggle find enough food.

Kruger is a vast park in South Africa’s northeast, bordering Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Animals here rely largely on rivers, though water holes are supplied by park management in some places.

Park officials say they are working with communities and farms outside Kruger’s boundaries to manage water usage in the five major rivers that flow through the park.

But rangers say they won’t be making any major changes to save plants and animals from the drought, seeing it as a natural process.

According to Mabasa, in the 1990s a drought reduced the park’s population of Cape buffalos by more than half, to around 14,000. The number of buffalos has since recovered and now stands at more than 40,000.

While hippos along with buffalo will suffer, larger predators including lions and leopards are expected to benefit from the drought, by giving them an advantage on weaker prey.

According to the South African Weather Service, 2015 was the country’s driest year since 1904 when record-keeping began.

The drought, during what is normally the summer rainy season in most of South Africa, has been exacerbated by a strong El Niño. The weather phenomenon brings drier conditions to southern Africa.

Source: usatoday


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Wildlife on sea

South Africa is blessed with such a beautiful and dynamic array of wildlife and wilderness that we tend to inspire the world to come knocking at our front door. There is, of course, the famous Kruger National Park, which no doubt deserves its praise, but have you ever considered adding the ocean to the mix? Somewhere where both marine and land life coalesces into one unforgettable experience?

Consider a South African adventure at one of our beautiful coastal national parks.

Garden Route National Park

It’s called the Garden Route for a reason. This is one of the green and gorgeous routes to meander through in South Africa and its national park is just one more tower in heaven’s castle. The Garden Route National Park is split into three beautiful sections, completely removed from one another. En route you’ll find Wilderness, Knysna and Tsitsikamma, and perhaps in the mix, you’ll find yourself.

Wilderness is a “fascinating combination of rivers, lakes, estuaries and beaches, unfolding against the backdrop or lush forests and imposing mountains. During spring, the area is beautifully blanketed by a kaleidoscope of colourful blossoms, further enhancing its profound beauty.”

Knysna consists of a beautiful section of lakes and inlets and is situated along the Garden Route between the mountain forests and coastal lagoons of the Garden Route’s shoreline.

Tsitsikamma is a beautiful vision by the sea where you can experience coastal scenery alongside lush forests and delicate Fynbos. With hiking, water sports and adventure, it is a rare treat on the famous Garden Route.

West Coast National Park

If you’re visiting the Western Cape and you’re looking to uncover the real Western Cape, look no further than the West Coast National Park. Only an hour and a half’s drive outside of Cape Town, you can absorb the sapphire waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park.

With thousands of seabirds roosting on its sheltered islands, luscious golden beaches and interesting salt marshes, this gem of the Cape provides the perfect setting for your South African getaway.

Namaqua National Park

If a painting could come to life then that living tapestry could be called the Namaqua National Park. Most famous during blooming season, if you’re looking to capture happiness in a bottle then you need to take a trip to Namaqua National Park and let its carpet of spring flowers, unspoilt coastlines, and diverse wildlife whisk you away.

Agulhas National Park

Right on the southern tip of Africa you can discover the windswept and rugged beauty of Agulhas National Park. Famous in history as the one the most challenging sea crossings, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic, this corner of South Africa is rich in culture and national heritage.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

This is one of South Africa’s first World Heritage Sites is a beautiful consortium of eight interdependent ecosystems and an overwhelming diversity of flora and fauna. The park, formerly known as the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, is a prime destination for those looking for a combination of marine splendour and pristine beaches.

South Africa’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Sibaya, also forms part of the park. Formed against thickly forested coastal dunes, its clear waters support the province’s second-largest hippo and crocodile population.

Source: southafrica


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No, South Africa hasn’t turned the tide on its rhino poaching crisis

2015 may have seen a small dip in the number of rhino poached in South Africa, but the level of killing is still double natural reproduction rates

The announcement that South African rhino poaching deaths fell slightly in 2015 adds a misleading gloss to another devastating year in which criminal gangs expanded their operations into new, even more delicate rhinoceros populations.

South Africa’s environment minister Edna Molewa said on Thursday that 1,175 dead rhinos were discovered during the country’s annual census of poaching activities – 40 less than the 2014 record of 1,215.

“I am today pleased to announce that for the first time in a decade – the poaching situation has stabilised,” said Molewa. Since 2007, when just 13 rhinos were taken for their horns, poaching has spiralled into a crisis that now threatens the last stronghold of southern white rhinos an has grown so bad that the government has enlisted the armed forces to assist park rangers.

The South African government was keen to tie the “stabilisation” to an increase in poaching-related arrests and firearms seizures, beefed-up security around Kruger National Park (where the majority of animals are killed) and the translocation of 124 rhinos to more secure areas.

Wildlife advocates, while praising South Africa’s renewed efforts to combat poachers, were quick to point out that stable numbers did not equate to a stable situation.

“It’s still catastrophic,” said Dan Stiles, an expert on the illegal wildlife trade. Heather Sohl, WWF-UK’s chief advisor on species, said the current level of poaching was “totally absurd”.

“In the 17 years preceding the sudden escalation in 2008, fewer than 36 rhinos used to be killed by poachers in South Africa each year,” she said.

Tom Milliken, a rhino expert from wildlife trade watchdog Traffic, warned about misinterpretation of the South African census numbers. He said the real number of deaths could be considerably higher given that not all poached rhino carcasses are found. With this uncertainty taken into account, he said, the results of the 2014 and 2015 censuses were “virtually the same”.

He said the loss of more than 800 animals from Kruger alone – roughly 10% of the park’s remaining animals in one year – was double the natural rate of reproduction.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if numbers [of rhino] were starting to go down,” he said, although the government said the population remained stable.

Milliken said the “stabilisation” may have more to do with the total number of rhinos that poachers are able to take on their smash and grab missions across the border from Mozambique.

“The low-hanging fruit are rhino populations that are pushed up against a border for one reason or another. They are possibly the easiest animals to get. If you have to walk in and penetrate the park deeper and deeper, that could be an impediment,” said Milliken.

The pyrrhic victory in South Africa was outweighed by a dramatic increase in poaching of the critically endangered black rhino in Namibia and Zimbabwe.

“The overall situation for Africa has not changed at all, this year is really going to show record levels of rhino poaching,” said Milliken. The South African announcement brought the total number of rhinos poached in Africa to 1,305 – six more than 2014 and the worst year in decades.

In Namibia the number lost to poachers jumped from 24 in 2014 to 80 last year. At the same time, Zimbabwe reported an increase from 11 to more than 50. Together the three countries (including South Africa) house 95% of remaining African rhino.

The rapid explosion of South Africa’s poaching crisis shows how quickly criminal gangs are able to scale up operations once they set up in a country. Milliken called the rise of poaching in Namibia, which has the largest remnant population of black rhino, as “horrifyingly worrying”.

“What we are seeing is the conflagration is spreading to other rhino populations,” said Milliken. “What’s happening [in Namibia] is the same kind of poaching brand that South Africa has represented. There’s the presence of the Asian syndicates, there’s some degree of corruption in the private sector and there’s other evidence of government officials being corrupted and involved.”

Millken said many Chinese nationals, working as development officials with legitimate jobs, had been implicated in the growing trade. As China’s influence in the continent grew, he said, so too would the influence of the international gangs that drive the trade.

Shaw said the developments should prompt national governments and their international law enforcement partners to enrol local communities in the fight against poachers.

“The infiltration of these communities by sophisticated criminal gangs not only threatens rhinos, it also compromises the safety and sustainable development of the people living in these communities,” said Shaw.

“Local communities can help tackle wildlife crime, but only if they see themselves as active partners in conservation with a real stake in protecting wildlife, not just as pawns in a fight between law enforcement officers and international criminal syndicates.”

Source: theguardian


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Africa: Why Millions Chose Africa As Their Safari Destination

ANALYSIS

More than 30 million tourists visit Africa every year. Over half of the international arrivals are for business purposes, and may partake in tourist activities as well, while 15% travel for pure tourism and 30% visit friends and family.

Tourists select the continent as a destination for wildlife viewing and to enjoy the sunny skies. Africa is the world’s number one destination for safaris which range from the exotic to the very simple.

The tourism industry is one of the most important for the continent: it provided 12.8 million people with jobs, directly and indirectly, in 2011. Tourism in 2012 contributed over US$36 billion or 2.8% of the continent’s GDP.

The continent’s vast and diverse nature makes it complex and difficult to decide on the best region for a safari. But the east, central and southern parts of the continent are by far the preferred choices. These areas generally have well developed or fast developing tourism sectors. There is an abundance of wildlife as well as low to no visa requirements. Tourists to these regions mostly come from countries like France, the UK, the USA, Germany and Portugal.

Below is a quick guide to some of the safari hot spots on the African continent.

East Africa

East African countries are strongly reliant on the tourism industry for generating income. Strong improvements in marketing and cooperation between these nations will help to ensure the success of this vital tourism sector.

Standardised criteria for hotels, restaurants and other services across these countries will make it easier for tourists to find suitable services. These countries possess various natural and cultural resources that make tourism possible.

The Serengeti wildebeest migration is the main reason Kenya and Tanzania have become popular safari destinations. This migration sees millions of wildebeest, accompanied by various other animal species, move between Tanzania and Kenya. The best places to view this migration include Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. .

And while in the area, don’t forget to visit Africa’s highest mountain –Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park.

The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area is also a great choice with an abundance of big 5 – the African elephant, African lion, white/black rhinoceros, African leopard and the Cape buffalo – and will not disappoint.

Central Africa

Civil wars and terrorist groups have made it dangerous to travel to some countries in this region. Many tourists still take their chances, though, as Central Africa is an area of immense natural beauty.

Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda are great places to view the endangeredmountain gorillas. The best places for viewing them include theVirunga National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south-west Uganda, orVolcanoes National Park in north-west Rwanda.

Various factors have threatened the population of gorillas, including poaching, habitat loss, disease, war and unrest and poverty. Today, due to conservation efforts, the population of mountain gorillas is showing steady growth. The fact that many tourists want to get up close to these animals also drives conservation efforts, since with tourism comes economic improvement.

If you’d prefer to take part in Africa’s best on-foot chimpanzee encounters, visit Kibale Forest in Uganda.

Southern Africa

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi offer very diverse wildlife. This is because of the variety of biomes in the region.

Chobe National Park is home to the biggest concentration of elephants in the world – 70 000 of them. It lies between the Chobe River and the Okavango Delta in the north eastern parts of Botswana. Also in Botswana, the Moremi Game Reserve, in the iconic Okovango Delta, is the first reserve in Africa to be established by local residents.

The Etosha National Park in the northern arid region of Namibia offers great chances of spotting endangered black rhinoceros as well as flamingos in the salt pans.

The Kruger National Park in South Africa is in its own league because of its diversity of animals as well as advanced environmental management techniques and policies.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park was the first site in South Africa to be awarded World Heritage status. It contains most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests and is Africa’s largest estuarine system, which is a partially enclosed body of water where fresh water from rivers and streams mix with salt water from the ocean. The park borders Kosi Bay and St Lucia Lake which is the only place in the world where you can find sharks, hippopotamus and crocodiles in the same body of water.

Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape province is the only park where you can find the Big 7: the African elephant, Cape buffalo, African lion, African leopard, African rhino as well as whales and Great White sharks.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park consists of mostly unspoiled wilderness in the north of South Africa, crossing over into Botswana. This park is largely located in a desert area and is famous for animal species such as the Kalahari black-maned lions and the Gemsbok or Oryx.

Source: allafrica


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Tanzania Hands Out Tourism Accolades

Arusha — The 2015 Tourism for the Future Awards which was held in Arusha recently left me with much excitement and grandeur writes ELISHA MAYALLAH.

The day-long event was packed with different presentations from well-selected tourism stakeholders who shared their knowledge, showcased, acknowledged and later rewarded the best practices in sustainable tourism across Africa.

The message in most of the presentations recognized the quality and abundance of Africa’s resource endowment for tourism, which is exceptional and caters for the environment and community development.

This is because the travel sector has a direct link in the tourism industry in which services and products are integrated to achieve a destination experience.

Traveler’s Eye Tanzania was the main organizer of the event. It was founded to positively contribute to the development and socio-environmental impact of the tourism industry across Africa.

The focus is on pro-sustainable tourism projects, taking part in sustainable development of Africa as a leading tourist destination region through advocating for environmental conservation and socio-cultural authenticity.

Having already been recognized internationally, Traveler’s Eye Tanzania was officially endorsed by the Tanzanian Ministry of natural resources and tourism on the 10th September 2014 to be the national sustainable tourism driver for Tanzania.

The awards, according to Vanessa Baldwin, one of organizing partner, recognized community based organization (CBOs) that provide socio-economic benefits to the host communities which are meant to secure a sustainable future for the Tourism industry in Africa and to ensure that tourism is a driver of the economy.

The award event is a product of Africa’s first Pan-African Sustainable tourism campaign “Uniting to Conserve Africa’s Legacy”.

It hosted representatives from across Africa and the world featuring the International tourism trade and conservation communities.

Other invitees were from the African economic bodies, environmental activists, regional and International development agencies, awards application finalists and the African tourism community.

Emerging top in a competitive categories from Tanzania were Tengeru Cultural Tourism Programme, African Wildlife Trust and Zara Tanzania Adventures, all from the tourism wonderlands of the north of the country.

The Tengeru Cultural Tourism Programme, based near Arusha, emerged top in the culture and heritage category while Zara Tanzania Adventure won the sustainable business award. The Arusha based African Wildlife Trust won the environment conservation award.

Gladness Obed Pallangyo could not hide her joy when Travellers across Africa voted Tengeru Cultural Tourism Programme to the Culture and Heritage Preservation Award.

“This win means a whole lot for us, we appreciate it as it gives us further exposure,” Gladness Pallangyo said, after receiving the award from the Tanzanian minister of natural resources and tourism, Lazaro Nyalandu.

Six winners were announced at the event of the Tourism for The Future Awards Africa, which partnered with several sponsors to recognize the best in the tourism industry, across six categories.

The awards, according to Vanessa Baldwin, one of organizing partner, recognized community based organization (CBOs) that provide socio-economic benefits to the host communities which are meant to secure a sustainable future for the Tourism industry in Africa and to ensure that tourism is a driver of the economy.

Source: allafrica


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Plan B needed to save rhinos

IN THE first four months of this year the rate at which rhinos were poached in the Kruger National Park escalated by 20% compared to last year. Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says 749 have been killed so far this year, 544 in the park.

Roughly three rhino a day are slaughtered by well-armed poachers who enter the park illegally, many from Mozambique, in small groups.

Horns are hacked off immobilised rhinos, living and dead, and are then, in the words of Gen Johan Jooste, exchanged for “Checkers bags full of money” in the chain of organised crime that leads to lucrative markets for horn in China, Vietnam and Laos via middlemen in Mozambique and SA.

Jooste is in charge of antipoaching operations in the Kruger National Park. His rangers are taking on a well-organised army of rhino poachers, which he estimates to be 6,000 strong, in a low-intensity war aimed at conserving an iconic but endangered species.

Rhinos are one of the “Big Five” which attract eco-tourism to SA. Tourism accounts for the livelihood of one in seven South Africans. The rangers, on average, engage in two fire fights a week and managed to “neutralise” (Jooste’s term) 386 poachers in the past year.

Since 2008, there have been 220 poachers killed in the war to save the rhino from extinction. Jooste sees lack of proper crime intelligence as the weakest point in the operations he leads. He might well add that his rangers are under-resourced, over-stretched and outnumbered. The investigation and prosecution services of the criminal justice administration in SA are thwarted by a lack of forensic follow-through and laws that are overly generous when it comes to granting bail, but somewhat parsimonious when sentences are imposed on convicted poachers.

There is no extradition agreement in place with Mozambique, no political will to mount hot pursuit operations and very little global co-ordination of law enforcement efforts. Middlemen live with impunity on the border of the Kruger National Park in Mozambique; warrants of arrest for them issued in SA cannot be served.


SPEAKING at the Wildlife in Crisis conference in Cape Town in May, experienced independent environmental consultant John Hanks proposed a legal trade in rhino horn as a possible option for the long-term security of rhinos in Africa. He considers that dehorning rhino and feeding the harvested horn into a regulated market internationally are realistic and sustainable ways of saving rhinos from extinction.

Hanks contends that community beneficiation of the currently alienated folk who live adjacent to protected areas in dire poverty is the key to the survival of rhinos. He does, however, concede that the legalisation of trade will not end poaching.

It is the escalation in poaching that is the problem. The black market value per kilogramme of rhino horn is greater than that of gold and platinum combined, so it is undeniable that a legal trade in horn would introduce a great deal of money into the economy by diverting some of the flow of funds from organised criminal syndicates.

Will Travers, of the Born Free Foundation, disagrees with Hanks. He points to the limitations of CITES, the 181-member international body to protect wildlife — two-thirds of which must be persuaded of the efficacy and appropriateness of legalising trade for the purpose of benefiting the endangered species, not the traders in products derived from it.

The thinking in CITES is very much against the legalisation of trade. This stance can be gleaned from the outcomes of the London and Kasane conferences recently held by the most active CITES members.

As the regulation of trade requires multi-lateral agreements to ensure that trade is legal and sustainable, and that produce traded is traceable, it is unrealistic to think that legalisation can be achieved without CITES buy-in any time soon.

Even if CITES were to change its stance, it would still take years to put in place the regulatory framework, the accountability mechanisms and enforcement resources to create a legalised trade.

Lamentably, the rhinos do not have the luxury of long lead-in times, given the escalating rate of poaching. China, the major market, has outlawed trade in rhino horn and is unlikely to change its domestic legislation any time soon. The attitude of CITES is, at least in part, informed by the answer to a simple question: “Does rhino horn work?” Is it the magical cure-all and general panacea for ailments and conditions — ranging from impotence to cancer — which Eastern buyers attribute so faithfully to it? The answer is manifestly “No”.


IN THESE circumstances it is arguably inappropriate, if not unethical, to sanction the trade in rhino horn because its sale into the Eastern medicine market is essentially a scam. The necessary imprimatur of CITES and regulatory bodies ought therefore not to be engaged in putting in place regulations, accountability mechanisms, traceability procedures and valuable resources, both human and logistical. Doing so would assist in perpetrating a fraud on buyers of scarce horn whose belief in its efficacy is so obviously misplaced, the placebo effect notwithstanding.

The Bill of Rights enshrines environmental rights.

Biodiversity must be conserved and promoted “while promoting justifiable economic and social development” according to section 24(b)(ii) and (iii) of the Constitution.

Selling rhino horn to gullible buyers in the East can hardly be described as justifiable economic development. Enabling such sales is not the function of CITES, and without CITES the idea of legalising trade in rhino horn will surely be stillborn.

Quite apart from the pragmatic and ethical aspects, there is an aesthetic dimension to the debate.

It is surely unimaginable that our ancient and iconic rhino species will enjoy the same cachet with discerning eco-tourists if they suddenly become as hornless as nanny goats. Without their magnificently adorned proboscises our rhinos look forlorn, mutilated and somewhat less than photogenic.

Many Africans (and others) regard the rich wildlife heritage of our continent as sacred. Sawing off the horns of drugged farmed rhinos violates this sacredness. Legalising trade simply will not end the devastating poaching that is threatening the survival of the species.

The way forward involves formulating a “Plan B” which advocates, among other things, properly resourced, intelligence driven, dedicated law enforcement by operatives who are sufficiently battle-hardened to take on the informal army of 6,000 poachers effectively. An extradition treaty with Mozambique is needed. Education on the evils of poaching is needed.


STIFFER punishment of offenders must be encouraged, whether by leading evidence in aggravation of sentence or via remedial legislation. Poaching must be made a schedule five offence to make it more onerous on suspects to obtain bail after they are apprehended. Too often arrested poachers simply jump bail and go back to their nefarious business. The chaos and fraud in the hunting permit system must be cleaned up and rationalised.

Corruption, endemic in the Kruger National Park, needs to be effectively combated by the creation of a new Chapter Nine institution, the Integrity Commission, to replace the Hawks.

In Kenya the introduction of life sentences for poachers cut the slaughter of elephants and rhino. A poster reading “The price of rhino horn is life imprisonment” could serve to deter those considering the easy pickings available to poachers.

SA is being violently robbed of its national treasure by an army of organised criminals. Decisive action is needed to address the cause of the slaughter of rhino, not its symptoms. Poaching needs to be made riskier and less attractive as a career option. The pro-and anti-legalisation lobbies need to put aside their differences and co-operate in an agreed Plan B.

Source: bdlive


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WTM Africa partners with Southern Africa Tourism Services Association for the 2015 SATSA Conference

After a difficult year for South Africa’s inbound tourism sector, SATSA members plan to take stock and regroup at this year’s conference, which is themed ‘Out of the Fire: Working Together for Growth.’ Says SATSA CEO, David Frost: “We need to turn our focus to the future now and map out our way forward, highlighting areas where we can create leverage for our businesses. We deeply value the role of sponsors in supporting this platform for development.”

WTM Africa will be sponsoring the opening dinner of the conference, an informal evening featuring the best of food, drink and entertainment that the Garden Route has to offer. In addition, Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Thebe Reed, the organisers of WTM Africa, will participate in a session on ‘The Future of Trade Shows in South Africa’. This panel discussion takes place on Friday, 14 August at 12h15.

General Manager of WTM Africa, Chardonnay Marchesi says: “We are looking forward to being part of the SATSA 2015 Conference. A collaboration such as this allows us to work together in addressing current trends in the tourism industry and to further promote the effort achieved in the inbound sector, in making Southern Africa and Africa a marketable leisure destination.”

The three-day conference will review trends such as adventure tourism, responsible tourism, transformation and new approaches in conserving Africa’s wildlife. The prestigious keynote speaker as this year’s conference will be Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom.

Taking place in Cape Town at the Cape Town International Convention Centre between 6 and 8 April 2016, WTM Africa is the leading B2B exhibition for the inbound and outbound African travel & tourism markets. Through its industry networks, global reach and regional focus, WTM Africa creates personal and business opportunities providing customers with quality contacts, content and communities.

In 2015, WTM Africa showcased more than 570 exhibitors, 82% new buyers from over 45 different countries, 7600 prescheduled appointments before the show began, as well as an 18% increase on 2014 visitors and 39% increase on overall travel professionals at the show.

WTM Africa’s inaugural event in 2014 recorded remarkable results which saw approximately 4,000 industry professionals negotiate deals worth $314 million (£189 million).

Source: traveldailynews


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