Youth urged to participate in wildlife economy

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has encouraged the youth to pursue careers that will enable them to participate meaningfully in the wildlife economy.

“I call on young people to pursue careers in the fields of, among others, nature conservation, veterinary services, ecotourism, taxidermy, animal husbandry, zoology, botany and ecology,” Minister Molewa said.

The Minister was addressing the launch of the Double Drift Community Wildlife Project in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday.

“This initiative enables access to start-up game or wild animals which in itself fosters the ownership of game in the hands of communities, particularly the previously disadvantaged.

“It further advances the interface between communities and protected areas which in-turn contributes to promoting sustainable livelihoods through ecotourism, job creation and protection of natural and cultural heritage,” Minister Molewa said.

She said the launch of this Double Drift Project marks the new dawn in community-led wildlife management which unlocks wildlife ranching that includes a focus on game breeding and live sales.

Secondary activities associated with these include veterinary services, translocation services, fencing and infrastructure maintenance.

Other wildlife activities include trophy hunting, production of biltong and other wildlife products of game meat processing, skin and hides, curios and jewellery.

She said government was serious about empowering communities through job creation.

“Currently, we have started with the development of primary infrastructure using labour intensive methods to erect a 10 kilometre fence, entrance gate with a guard house, construction of an animal holding boma and capacitation of community members.

“This project has contributed 60 job opportunities within the communities around Double Drift nature reserve since February 2018, furthermore eight environmental monitors have been allocated to park to bolster our efforts for combatting wildlife crime,” Minister Molewa said.

She said the Double Drift community is one of the communities that were dispossessed of their land and grazing rights under past laws.

In 2016, the Double Drift community formed a Communal Property Association (CPA) called Likhaya Lethu CPA consisting of approximately 1 500 members.

This CPA has since entered into a co-management agreement with the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA)

“The Department of Environmental Affairs has provided R6 million in funding to the CPA to develop a Wildlife Economy business venture on the farm Naudeshoek (1 400 hectares), which has been bought as part of the land claim settlement by the state through the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

“The activities undertaken with this funding include the installation of a 10kilometre game fence; construction of an Entrance Gate; construction of rangers and hunters accommodation; construction of Animal Holding Boma, and training and development of community members,” Minister Molewa said.

The community beneficiation includes extensive game breeding of high value and plains game species for live sales; beneficiation of products such as game meat, product development from skin and hides, and ecotourism activities such as accommodation. –

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