The KwaZulu-Natal region has one of the most severe poaching problems in South Africa. Snaring of bushmeat and the poaching of rhino for the illegal horn trade are primarily responsible for this threat. High unemployment rates and systemic poverty within the region further exacerbate the poaching crisis, with reserves currently averaging a loss of more than three rhinos per week. Wildlife ACT’s new initiative, Project Rhino KZN, is aimed at promoting increased education and awareness strategies in local schools.
The kids camp program is designed to instill an understanding of and passion for nature conservation in young people. To date, Wildlife ACT has run 59 camps, engaging with 1,514 kids and 122 adults. The project has been shown to positively impact the children who attend the camps, with local high schools noting a significantly greater uptake in students pursuing natural science and tourism electives.
Wildlife ACT’s stated mission is to advance endangered and vulnerable species conservation in South Africa through effective monitoring of existing wildlife populations to provide adequate management, capture, transport and release of individuals into new areas. They also understand that there is a need to directly address the underlying economic drivers of poaching. Project Rhino KZN encourages community members to develop a passion for nature and to become stewards of their environment. This crucial initiative equips students with a better understanding of why and how to protect endangered species for future economic development and employment opportunities.
To learn more about Wildlife Act, please click here.