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World Youth Wildlife Summit Archives - Rhino Review

Youths from around the world champion wildlife protection

By Antipoaching, Conservation
UN Environment Programme | October 25, 2019

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Environmental crime has become the world’s fourth-largest crime sector, growing at 2–3 times the rate of the global economy. INTERPOL and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimate that natural resources worth up to US$258 billion are being stolen by criminal syndicates, depriving countries of their resources, revenues and development opportunities.

The World Youth Wildlife Summit took place in September at the Kruger National Park in South Africa, bringing together educators and conservation leaders to discuss and address the threat of wildlife crime.

About 150 young conservationists from the Southern African Development Community and their counterparts learned how to influence environmental policies at national, regional and international levels.

The summit came at a time when youths are becoming more proactive in identifying solutions to existing and emerging environmental challenges. Since they make up more than 75 per cent of the total population, youths can dramatically shape socio-political and cultural decision-making processes on environmental issues.

Original photo as published by UN Environment: Photo by @WildlifeSummit (Twitter).

The Project Rhino and the Kingsley Holgate Foundation organizations, the main facilitators of the event, are harnessing this incredible potential. They provide forums for youth to engage in wildlife conservation activities, in collaboration with experts from different countries and organizations, at the same time providing the opportunity for different stakeholders to network and come up with national and regional frameworks that would promote wildlife conservation.

According to Francis Du Toit, the Project Rhino Ambassador, “3.6 million people in Africa are employed in the wildlife economy, creating 40 per cent more full-time jobs than the same investment in agriculture. It has twice the job creation power of the automotive, telecommunications and financial industries and provides more job opportunities for women compared to other sectors.”

“In South Africa, 769 rhinos and 72 elephants were poached by criminal syndicates in the year 2018,” Chris Galliers, Coordinator of Project Rhino said.

At the summit, several youths were recognized for their wildlife conservation efforts, including advocacy, and photography. The delegates made declarations to engage and support the youths more to conserve African wildlife heritage.

Unemployment among young people has for a long time been a challenge in most developing countries, creating a loophole through which crime syndicates lure the young people into drugs, crime, human trafficking, and illegal trade in wildlife and their products. With the ever-growing technological inventions, and with the right exposure, youths have the potential to spearhead the development of sustainable solutions for the challenges faced in Africa and promote the Sustainable Development Goals.

Their potential to influence the development of and implementation of conservation strategies through their innovative thinking to solve complex issues is a facet that is yet to be realized and utilized at large by governments and conservation sectors. Efforts to conserve nature and advocate for its conservation and sustainability has often been perceived as obstacles to development in not only the African continent but across other continents such as Asia.

In 2015, the heads of states and governments of the African Union adopted the Agenda 2063, which is Africa’s roadmap for transforming the continent into the global powerhouse of the future. For African governments to achieve this, there is a need to harmonize all societal sectors including the private sector, civil society and local communities, including marginalized communities such as indigenous people, women and youths to work collaboratively and develop and commit to a systematic environmental conservation plan.

For more information, please contact Catherine.Abuto@un.org.

 

Vietnamese youth experience once-in-a-lifetime trip to KN (South Africa)

By Antipoaching, Conservation, Education
Lowvelder | October 11, 2019

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Five Vietnamese youth were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the World Youth Wildlife Summit, experience the Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, join a rhino de-horning exercise, visit the Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing and K9 Unit, and participate in a walking trail with a renowned guide.

Dinh Thi Thuy Nga (24), Do Quang Thien (20), Le Anh Tu (21), Nguyen Son Tra (21) and Truong Quoc Van (23) were selected through a competition organised by non-governmental and charity organisation, WildAct Vietnam, and were funded by USAID’s VukaNow Activity.

VukaNow supports the shared commitments of the US government, SADC and its member states, private sector partners, and civil society to decrease wildlife crime across southern Africa. The US government’s commitment to help protect the iconic animal populations of South Africa through USAID rests on the recognition that wildlife crime is not just a conservation issue, but a form of transnational organised crime whose impact can be felt by communities around the globe.

The group from Vietnam arrived, with Mark Spicer, WildAct Vietnam’s technical adviser who acted as the group mentor, at the Ranger Camp at the Southern African Wildlife College where a geodesic MEGAdome had been erected for the World Youth Wildlife Summit from the September 21 to 24.

Original photo as published by Lowvelder

225 youth delegates, adult chaperones (educators and community leaders), conservation experts and keynote speakers came together, supported by donors such as South African National Parks, Peace Parks Foundation and Tourism South Africa, for an intensive four-day program, that included a game drive into South Africa’s iconic Kruger National Park and engaged the youth in topics such as the responsible use of wildlife resources, strategies for demand reduction, the link between poverty and poaching, habitat loss, and the role of education and awareness.

Organised by Project Rhino, African Conservation Trust and the Kingsley Holgate Foundation, the aim was to inspire the youth become Ambassadors for Conservation and influencers to help reduce wildlife crime.

After watching the hard-hitting documentary STROOP – journey into the rhino horn war and seeing Vietnamese individuals engaged in the illegal trade and consumption of rhino horn, Van from Ho Chi Minh City, gave an emotionally charged speech expressing a deep shame for the Vietnamese involvement.

“This is such a big system that’s already in place, how I’m going to fight something like that?”

However, the documentary also showed courageous Asian individuals, including a Vietnamese conservationist, who do undercover work alongside the South African authorities in the fight against the illegal trade network. Van continued to answer his own question emphatically, referring to meeting fellow delegates and engaging with the Summit speakers, “I want to be more courageous and you have helped me do that.”

The Chargé de Affaires for the US Embassy in South Africa, David Young, reiterated this point in his World Rhino Day speech at the Summit saying, “You are not alone in this great task. Look around you. You are surrounded by an amazing body of experienced experts, and fellow young conservation leaders. There is a wealth of knowledge and tools to help you.”

After the Summit, the Vietnamese delegation, accompanied by Janet Frangs, a freelance Wilderness Guide, spent a further week learning more about wildlife, specifically rhino and the poaching epidemic, as well as engaging with South African culture and communities.

Their excursion began at Bongani Mountain Lodge near southern Kruger before they headed for Zululand. When speaking to the staff at the lodge, the group realised that the decimation of wildlife is not only ecologically tragic but also puts jobs, families and communities in jeopardy.

To contrast the Summit’s intense discussions and revelations, a walking trail in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve was arranged with Nunu Jobe, also known as the ‘Barefoot Ranger’ – a highly experienced trails ranger and Director of Isibindi Africa Trails. Nunu highlighted the beauty of the wilderness and the vital importance of conservation to visitors and surrounding communities and shared his unique story: he was once a bushmeat poacher but is now a passionate conservationist.

Reflecting on the walk, Tu from Hanoi, said, “Nunu’s story of the transition from a poacher to a ranger was so moving and thought-provoking…we got to witness his trying to connect humans with nature in an effort of reminding humans of their roots.”

Wildlife Conservation student Son Tra, also commented, “I had a chance to see the animals I’m trying to protect in the wild and that gives me more motivation to continue my conservation work. Furthermore, walking with Nunu and listening to his story make me believe that we can change the local community.”

After getting close to wild rhinos, with their horns intact, the group then participated in a rhino-dehorning exercise on a private Zululand reserve.

Son Tra added that the dehorning process pushed him to question the best ways to protect this species’ long-term as dehorning is a costly ongoing procedure.

Nga from Danang in central Vietnam, was also moved by the experience, “Although there can be seen a failure of wildlife protection in dehorning rhinos instead of keeping them freely in nature, I appreciate the effort of the private reserve in doing their best to prevent rhinos from poachers.”

A visit to Project Rhino’s Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing (ZAP-Wing) and the K9 Unit, based in Hluhluwe, further emphasised the protection strategies employed by reserves to protect their wildlife – and the immense cost.

Thien, Van and Tu, who all work in or are studying marketing, communications and business, quickly realised that such industries are also of critical use to the conservation sector. Van, a passionate videographer and photographer, has already committed to making a short video about his trip here.

Thien, studying at the National Economics University in Hanoi said, “At the circle of sharing today, I absorbed many interesting ideas from everyone, and actually thought that with my marketing and business knowledge, I can somehow make an impact on the behaviour of rhino horns consumers in the future… and I hope it will be, because we are running out of time here.”

Further to this reflection, Tu added that conveying conservation messages should be done in the language that resonates with the local people – whether in Africa or Asia. He strongly believes that saving the rhino, and other wildlife, relies on relaying the human stories and tragedies behind this crisis – stories that may resonate more with Asian communities.

Nga’s wants to focus her efforts on education and awareness. “Greed in human beings cannot be completely removed until their heart has been naturally convinced. I personally don’t want to threaten, scare, or show anger when I request people to join in the efforts of wildlife conservation,” she says.

Project Rhino received individual pledges from the group and will continue to build the relationship, provide mentorship and support their actions in their communities back home.
“Our overriding aim is to provide the youth delegates with the knowledge and tools they need to become influencers and wildlife ambassadors in their home countries and communities, and take the lead in speaking out on behalf of endangered species and habitats that are in serious threat of extinction in their lifetime,” concludes Summit Director and CEO of African Conservation Trust, Francois du Toit.

South African teenager wins international photographic award

By Antipoaching, Conservation, Education
Fred Kockott & Mlu Mdletshem, Ground Up | September 25, 2019

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Nineteen-year-old Kgaugelo Neville Ngomane has won a prestigious environmental photographic competition.

Ngomane’s powerful image of a rhino dehorning, titled Desperate Measures, was picked from more than 4,000 international entries by the judges who commended its storytelling and photographic merit. The judges said: “When his photo flashed up on screen, there was a sharp intake of breath around the judging room; it’s such a powerful image.”

The Young Environmental Photographer of the Year Award is run by the international Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

On learning that he’d won, the unemployed teenager from Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, said: “Winning this competition means a lot, because I love photography. But I don’t just want to win, I want to make a difference. It is not easy to watch such an iconic animal being dehorned. I hope this picture will make a lot of people see what we have to do to save our rhinos and then support conservation.”

Ngomane is a graduate of Wild Shots Outreach – a Hoedspruit-based non-profit organisation that teaches wildlife photography to young people from poor communities.

The programme prioritises high school students from government schools and unemployed young people bordering the Kruger Park.

Original photo as published by Ground Up: Kgaugelo Neville Ngomane from Bushbuckridge holds the photo that won the Young Environmental Photographer of the Year Award. (Photo courtesy of Wild Shot Outreach)

“Despite living right next door to a National Park, 99% of these young people have never had access to their natural heritage and have never seen Africa’s iconic wildlife,” said Wild Shots Outreach founder and director, Mike Kendrick.

“This award is a fantastic accolade for Neville, for Wild Shots Outreach, for the communities and all the young people I work with,” added Kendrick. “They have developed pride in their images, pride in their stories, pride in themselves and a pride in their natural heritage – a natural heritage which has previously been hard for them to access.”

“Can we hope that images like Neville’s will capture the imaginations of communities like his, which border the Greater Kruger Park? And can photos like this bring people a better understanding of the drastic measures being used to conserve the iconic wildlife which we hold so precious?” asked Kendrick.

Kendrick said that Ngomane’s award winning photo was made possible by a rhino conservation charity, Rhino Revolution, which had the “foresight and vision to invite Wild Shots Outreach students to attend and document the dehorning of their wild rhino on a private reserve outside Hoedspuit, in Limpopo.”

Although an unpleasant experience for the rhino, dehorning is like cutting one’s fingernails and the horn will grow back, said Kendrick. “Desperate times call for desperate measures and dehorning is a last-ditch attempt to deter the poaching of rhinos.”

The presentation of CIWEM’s Young Environmental Photographer of the Year Award coincided with this week’s World Youth WildLife Summit hosted by the Southern African Wildlife College in the Kruger National Park.

Before the summit, 20 youngsters from rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape were selected to take part in a National Geographic Photo Camp in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park and other Project Rhino reserves, including Somkhanda and Manyoni. They learned skills from world class photographers while immersed in the wilderness.

“We came face to face with wild game and took photographs with meaning,” said 17-year-old Monique Keganediste from Nongoma, whose photo of a Somkhanda Game Reserve Anti-poaching ranger, Bhotsotso Hebron Gumbi, formed part of a photo essay at the summit.

Good Morning Angels: World Youth Wildlife Summit aims to bring change

By Antipoaching, Conservation, Education

Breakfast with Martin Bester, Jacaranda FM | September 25, 2019

See link for photo & 9-minute audio.

Rhinos are one of our most extinct species in the world. Good Morning Angels are dedicating the morning to the lives of those with no voices.

BACKGROUND: “A rhino is slaughtered every 9 hours and 20 000 elephants still fall to poachers’ guns every year”: according to Kingsley Holgate, humanitarian explorer dubbed ‘the most travelled man in Africa’. Most of these rhinos are killed in South Africa. Holgate and celebrity explorer, Sibusiso Vilane will join the 2019 World Youth Wildlife Summit taking place this South African heritage week near the Kruger National Park. 200 national and international youth delegates representing 16 countries will attend. Vilane, a game ranger who became famous as the first African to summit Mt Everest says about the youth attending the summit: “I believe that they do not want to inherit an environment that is so polluted and has no wildlife. They are the future custodians of this heritage and therefore they must take the lead.”

South Africans can support the conservation of our wildlife heritage, by supporting this bi-annual summit, that coincides with the 10th World Rhino Day on Sunday 22 September.

“This is going to be an authentic African-led Summit for youth leaders, which will delve deeply into the causes of wildlife poaching and the illegal international wildlife trade…” : says Summit Director, Francois du Toit from Project Rhino. He believes that developing the full potential of the wildlife economy, would not only save species from extinction but also economically empower communities living closest to wildlife sanctuaries, like the Kruger. “In Africa, 3.6 million people are employed in the wildlife economy, which creates 40% more full-time jobs than the same investment in agriculture. It has twice the job creation power of the automotive, telecommunications and financial industries and provides more job opportunities for women compared to other sectors”, says Du Toit.

Original photo as published by Jacaranda FM. (Source: Instagram)

The cost of bringing a youth delegate to the summit is R10,000,00 and this bill is footed by donors.

REQUEST FOR: The 2019 World Youth Wildlife Summit

ANGEL: Muhammed Tootla, DHL Express South Africa Head of IT

SPONSORING: DHL Express South Africa is turning 50 on 25 September 2019. To mark the occasion they will donate R50000,00 to fund the participation of five delegates to the 2019 World Youth Wildlife Summit and in this way, invest in our youth and wildlife heritage

South Africa’s celebrity adventurers and explorers Sibusiso Vilane and Kingsley Holgate will join the conservation sector’s ‘Big Guns’ at the 2019 World Youth Wildlife Summit this coming weekend near the Kruger National Park, which will also commemorate the 10th international World Rhino Day on Sunday 22 September.

200 youth delegates, teachers and community leaders from 16 countries will descend on the Southern African Wildlife College, for an intensive four-day programme led by 30 of Southern Africa’s most experienced conservationists who are giving freely of their time to share their knowledge and skills.

International delegates include students from the African Leadership University in Rwanda, community youth from the Serengeti region of Tanzania, San delegates from Namibia, representatives from eSwatini and Mozambique, a pupil from Eton College in England, as well as Taiwanese, Bangladeshi, Greek, Norwegian and Vietnamese delegates. Students from the Tshwane University of Technology and youth from rural communities bordering Kruger National Park and game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape will also attend.

Sibusiso Vilane started out as a game ranger before becoming one of South Africa’s most celebrated adventurers, best known for being the first African to summit Mt Everest and reach both the South and North Poles. Yet conservation and working with young people remain close to his heart. “I feel very strongly that young people should be engaged and involved in conservation and understand the poaching crisis and global wildlife crime issue, because it is their heritage that is being lost,” he explained. “I believe that they do not want to inherit an environment that is so polluted and has no wildlife. They are the future custodians of this heritage and therefore they must take the lead.”

Humanitarian explorer and Land Rover Ambassador Kingsley Holgate, widely known as ‘the most travelled man in Africa’, says that on all his expeditions, conservation and working with the youth are key elements. Currently, on a Zambezi-Congo expedition east-to-west across Africa, Holgate will return briefly to South Africa to attend the World Youth Wildlife Summit. Speaking by telephone, he said, “I’ve seen the decimation of Africa’s wildlife first-hand. It is unacceptable that a rhino is still slaughtered every 9 hours and 20 000 elephants still fall to poachers’ guns every year. So wherever possible on our journeys though Africa, we provide humanitarian support to field rangers and people living on the borders of wildlife parks, to help build good relations between conservation agencies and their community neighbours.

“Empowering young people about the escalating wildlife poaching crisis through our Rhino and Elephant Art conservation education programme is also very close to my heart,” he continued. “This year’s World Youth Wildlife Summit is absolutely and critically needed at this time, when, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, more than one million species on Earth are facing extinction.”

Vilane and Holgate will be joining conservation leaders that include globally respected South African wildlife vets Dr William Fowlds and Dr Johan Marais; Maria Diekmann, an African Pangolin specialist from Namibia; Ivan Carter from Zimbabwe, well-known for his wildlife TV series, Carter’s W.A.R; and Bupe Banda, female head of Zambia’s National Community Resources Board. Don English, head of the Kruger National Park’s Intensive Protection Zone section and the acclaimed all-women Black Mambas anti-poaching unit will also interact with the delegates, along with 23-year-old Nadav Ossendryver, founder of the award-winning ‘Kruger Sightings’ YouTube channel and recently nominated as one of Africa’s future leaders on the Forbes Africa ‘30 Under 30’ list.

Other high-profile guests who will attend the Summit include David Young, Chargé d’Affaires for the US Embassy in South Africa and senior executives of SANParks. John Scanlon, former Secretary-General of CITES and now Special Envoy for the African Parks group will join the Summit by video-link, as will Bonne de Bod and Susan Scott, producers of the internationally acclaimed South African wildlife documentary, STROOP – journey into the rhino war, which will be broadcast on DSTV on World Rhino Day, Sunday 22 September.

“This is going to be an authentic African-led Summit for youth leaders, which will delve deeply into the causes of wildlife poaching and the illegal international wildlife trade that costs the world over US$20 billion each year,” said Summit Director, Francois du Toit from Project Rhino. “It will also discuss other critical issues that are contributing to the decimation of our iconic ‘Big 5’ species like the rhino, elephant and lion; for example, human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss and the need for communities to benefit from the wildlife economy.

“It is high time that Africa’s – and the world’s – wildlife is recognized as more valuable alive than dead,” he continued. “According to the latest study by the World Travel & Tourism Council, global wildlife tourism generates five times more revenue than the illegal wildlife trade. In Africa, 3.6 million people are employed in the wildlife economy, which creates 40% more full-time jobs than the same investment in agriculture. It has twice the job creation power of the automotive, telecommunications and financial industries and provides more job opportunities for women compared to other sectors.

“Our overriding aim is to provide the youth delegates with the knowledge and tools they need to become influencers and wildlife ambassadors in their home countries and communities and take the lead in speaking out on behalf of endangered species and habitats that are in serious threat of extinction in their lifetime.”