All too often, communities that live around reserves are ostracized from conservation areas. Also, when rural communities are not helped to sustain themselves, or given adequate conservation education, we cannot expect these communities to do anything, but look to the protected areas for resources as means of survival. To help address these issues the Wildlife ACT Fund has initiated Community Conservation Projects around four game reserves in Zululand, South Africa, where endangered species need protection.
1. In-School conservation lessons
2. Kid’s Bush Camp Program
3. Adult Conservation Seminars
4. Wildlife Ambassador Clubs
5. Community Game Drives
(read more below)
Bruce Lombardo, Community Conservation Director, has appealed to the Wildlife ACT conservation volunteers to support our Community Conservation Project by helping to fund the following equipment.
In order of priority, we are looking for three sets of the following:
- Laptop computer with DVD player = ~ R8,000/ea x 3 = ~R24,000
- Cell phone modem = R500,00 x3 = R1,500
- LCD projector = ~R5,000/ea x 3 = ~ R15,000
- Educational supplies budget like paper, crayons and pencils @ ~ R1,000 each CCL = ~R3,000/ year
- Black and white printer = ~R1,000 ea x 3 = ~R3,000
- Printer ink budget = ~ R500/mo x 3 = ~R1,500/mo = ~R18,000/year
If you’d like to donate, please click on the above link and specify in your message what you’d like the money to go towards.
1. In-School conservation lessons:
The Wildlife ACT Fund’s Community Conservation Liaisons are working with primary schools within the Gumbi Community around the tribally-owned Somkhanda Game Reserve. Here they teach conservation lessons throughout the school year, during school hours, as part of students’ regular education. Students are given lessons in understanding ecological relationships, the importance of preserving biodiversity, and conservation issues associated with snare hunting.
2. Kid’s Bush Camp Program:
All grade six students from nine Gumbi Community schools attend a free-of-charge, four-day conservation education camp at Ubhejane Bush Camp within Somkhanda Game Reserve. Wildlife ACT Fund hopes to expand the program to more primary schools as funding becomes available. The program emphasizes hands-on child-centred discovery activities to teach students conservation concepts. The program is designed to instill a passion for nature conservation in young people.
3. Adult Conservation Seminars:
The Community Conservation Liaisons also consult with village heads to arrange opportunities to interact directly with the members in the community. The seminars are used as a means to survey the community member’s own perspectives on the economic development and food security needs of each village. These seminars also include presentations about the purpose and importance of nature conservation in their area. Using information and feedback from interactions, Wildlife ACT Fund links community needs with community development organizations and agencies for the purpose of alleviating some of the economic and food security issues, especially those driving the bush meat trade and other unsustainable uses of natural resources in the area.
4. Wildlife Ambassador Clubs:
In communities around Mkhuze Game Reserve, Community Conservation Liaisons organize “Wildlife Ambassador Clubs” for young adults who are interested in being conservation models in their villages. The members are often unemployed and looking for ways to be active in their communities. Clubs meet once or twice a week to learn about conservation and organize sustainability projects in their villages. Once each year members participate in a free-of-charge weekend experience at the Mkhuze Enviro-Camp to learn about the wildlife and its ecosystem first hand.
5. Community Game Drives:
At Tembe Elephant Park, the Community Conservation Liaison provides free-of-charge educational game drives to members of the surrounding community with the support of the community-owned Tembe Lodge. These game drives and camp experiences are so important because they get community members into the reserve so they can see the beauty of this place that attracts tourists from all over the world. Ironically, most members of adjacent communities have never been inside their neighbouring parks. Many have never seen an elephant or a giraffe, because a vehicle and entrance fees are required. The park administrations work with Community Conservation Liaisons to provide community member’s free access into their parks.