Advocacy & Awareness
Wilderness Foundation Africa believes that government and business leaders have an inherent responsibility to act as responsible custodians of the environment through best practice. Sustained economic growth is seen as a necessary priority, but it will continue to put pressure on the Earth’s natural resources unless it is carefully managed and monitored.
Wilderness Foundation Africa develops environmental standards and information which is used to brief and motivate individuals, governments and society at large towards the higher ideal of conservation and its role in the 21st century.
The Advocacy and Awareness programme focuses on the following key areas:
- Participation in Conservation forums (World Wilderness Congress; Conservation NGO alliance; IUCN, the Living Lakes Network, International Conservation Caucaus Foundation)
- Green Leaf Environmental Accreditation Standard
- Campaigns, Protected Area and Environmental Compliance (Mapumgubwe mining threat; Okavango Delta World heritage listing)
- Actively advocate for the expansion and protection of protected areas.
Established in August 2012, the SAFE (Sustainable Alternatives to Fracking and Exploration) Alliance includes the Wilderness Foundation, Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG), the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the African Conservation Trust (ACT); and will act as a platform to oppose fracking and seek alternative, more sustainable development options for the targeted fracking areas.
The Alliance adds momentum to the growing opposition to the controversial method of shale gas mining - which has been banned in more than 150 jurisdictions around the world.
The view of the Alliance is informed by fundamental arguments which present obstacles to licensing the technology in South Africa. Some of these arguments rest on insurmountable obstacles on a global scale. Others are germane to the South African context of culture, geology, biodiversity, water scarcity, and gas reticulation.
The Wilderness Foundation Africa pioneered the establishment of INDALO, an Eastern Cape Private Nature Reserve Association, in 2002. It facilitated a series of meetings between owners and general managers of some of the key private reserves based in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and proposed the concept of an association.
INDALO is made up of members representing a number of private nature reserves/game reserves in the Eastern Cape and, through networking, focuses on promoting socially responsible, ecologically sound land use among its members. INDALO supports non-consumptive wildlife and biodiversity based tourism.
It currently consists of 10 member reserves, covering over 100 000 hectares of sub-tropical thicket, Fynbos, karoo and forest vegetation in the Albany Region and south eastern Karoo of the Eastern Cape Province.
The purpose of INDALO is to create a forum for its members to:
- Identify and address threats to biodiversity and ecological sustainability, and identify appropriate solutions
- Identify and develop programmes to enhance social sustainability and community involvement and development
- Be educated in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development
- Develop cooperative environmental management strategies and plans
INDALO is involved in a number of projects including:
In 2004, the Wilderness Foundation commissioned a ground breaking study looking at the socio-economic impact of the private game reserve industry in the Eastern Cape. The first study was done by the Terrestrial Ecology Unit at UPE (now known as African Centre for Ecology at Nelson Mandela Metro University) and clearly showed the positive socio-economic impacts that the shift to private conservation was having in the region. INDALO commissioned an update in 2006, 2008 and 2010. This series of studies is a very powerful tool for researchers and for lobbying government to acknowledge the positive socio-economic impact that private conservation can have. For more information and access to the reports please contact the INDALO secretariat.
In 2008 Conservation International and the Wilderness Foundation Africa developed a project to pilot stewardship in the Eastern Cape’s Albany Biodiversity Hotspot. Two years worth of funding was secured from Michael Hainebach and supported by conservation International. The objective of the INDALO - Albany Stewardship Project, which was implemented by Wilderness Foundation, was to investigate ways of improving and securing biodiversity conservation in the private game reserves of the Eastern Cape. The principal product of the project is a conservation assessment of the 11 member reserves, and two years worth of ecological advice and support to various reserve management teams, aimed at improving biodiversity conservation.
The INDALO Wildlife Colloquium was started in 2004 by INDALO member Angus Sholto-Douglas. The aim is to bring together students, researchers and wildlife managers to discuss and learn more about a range of subjects including: tick bore diseases in wildlife and species management research, anti-poaching and financial incentives for biodiversity conservation. The colloquium usually takes place at Rhodes University in July.
The INDALO members support scientific research in a wide range of fields. There are students and researchers working on most of the INDALO member reserves. Research subjects include wildlife behaviour, biodiversity inventories, plant ecology, socio-economics, etho-botany, genetics, and veterinary studies. The Research Centre at Amakhala Game Reserve keeps a list of past and active research projects on the INDALO reserves. Interested parties can contact the individual reserves or the INDALO secretariat.
Poaching of wildlife, whether it’s for “bush meat” or high value ivory or rhino horn, is a challenge faced by most protected areas in Africa. The members of INDALO collaborate in the field of anti-poaching and security. Although each reserve usually has its own anti-poaching units, there is an excellent communication network and common strategic approach. An experienced and highly competent team is in place to proactively deal with poaching and security.
The Wilderness Foundation Africa is a founding member of the Climate Action Partnership (CAP), a powerful alliance of South African environmental NGO’s that recognise that climate change is not just an environmental challenge, but a political, social and economic challenge.
The members of the CAP believe that by working together, they can help advocate for the reduction of green house gas emissions and the protection of the country’s valuable natural resources.
Predictions show that South Africa has the potential to be one of the countries worst affected by the impacts of climate change. According to statistics, South Africa can expect average temperature increases between 1°C and 3°C by the mid-21st century, accompanied by an up to 30% reduction in rainfall, an increased incidence of droughts, floods and intense storms as well as a predicted rise in sea levels of up to 1 metre.
The social, economic and environmental impacts of these changes in South Africa’s climate could be devastating. Decreasing agricultural, forestry, livestock and fish stock yields could greatly threaten food and job security. The collapse of South Africa’s unique ecosystems could mean extinction for many of the country’s magnificent plant and animal species.
In recognition of the threat that climate change poses to South Africa, eight of the country’s largest and most influential conservation NGO’s have joined together to help reduce the impact of climate change on, and increase the resilience of, South Africa’s biodiversity and social communities.
The Climate Action Partnership advocates for intact ecosystems that are connected at a landscape level; building human capacity; and implementing climate change adaptation and mitigation.
CAP’s objectives are to:
- Raise awareness around climate change and the links between climate change and the conservation of natural habitat
- Promote the integrity of climate change projects by promoting the adoption of globally accepted standards, with an emphasis on the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS)
- Advise on and support Southern African solutions for mitigation and adaptation to climate change with a biodiversity conservation outcome
- Promote cross-sectoral policy that supports climate change mitigation and adaptation activities with a biodiversity conservation outcome
- Achieve carbon reductions for the head offices of the CAP partner organizations
CAP recognizes that:
- Climate change is among the most pervasive threats to biodiversity today, which, without action, will cause the extinction of countless species and destroy some of the world's most precious ecosystems
- Climate change is a major threat to South African biodiversity, particularly in the hotspots of the Succulent Karoo; Cape Floral Kingdom and the Maputoland-Pondoland Albany
- The impact of climate change on biodiversity is a focus of CAP’s partner civil society organizations (see below) and their objectives and interests in this regard are largely compatible
- The potential for the benefits of collaboration is greater than for the sum of the work carried out by the above-mentioned organizations individually
- The organizations have a common desire to collaborate in the field of climate change and biodiversity conservation
CAP partners include:
- BirdLife South Africa
- The Botanical Society of South Africa
- Conservation South Africa (CSA)
- The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)
- The Wilderness Foundation
- The Wildlands Conservation Trust
- The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA)
- World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA)