Wildlife Conservation in South Africa (Online Conference)

Welcome to a limited blog series in which I will introduce you to a conference that The Expedition Project will be hosting in collaboration with the UK universities Nottingham, Edinburgh, and RVC over the weekend of 5-6 June 2021.

This blog will provide you with information about the speakers and some of their research and will signpost you to opportunities to engage with them through The Expedition Project. I will also keep everyone updated over the course of the weekend and our group of ambassadors will personally reflect on the talks when they take place.

Over the last year, due to the global pandemic (COVID-19 if you managed to miss it!), there have been many positives for global wildlife, including in Africa. Due to lack of travel, rhino poaching had a period in which it was not viable or profitable resulting in a decline in poaching of 42%. Furthermore, the climate crisis was finally put at the forefront of the global agenda. Significantly more people are lobbying for recognition of the climate crisis and it means that it had to be a priority for politicians being voted in this year. For example, Joe Biden made it a pivotal aspect of his 2020 election campaign and has already reversed many of Donald Trumps catastrophic actions. To read more about some of the UNs climate positive outcomes of 2020 click here.

Despite this, there have been some negatives too. The lack of usual tourism and support for conservation groups has put a real financial strain on the organisations. Consequently, they are having to carry out the tasks that they normally would but with reduced staffing and funding. Furthermore, as we slowly leave lockdown and 2020 behind, our worldwide population is resorting to previous bad habits, and poachers are desperately returning to fulfil demand for their products as travel somewhat resumes in order to earn some form of income.

Consequently, we feel that this is the most poignant time to broadcast some of the best conservationists that we have identified in South Africa. In 2012, following 8 months of research, 101 projects were explored resulting in a small community of reliable organisations that are committed to our vision of sustainability, ethical tourism and conservation to name a few – read more here.

Our charity conference will provide a platform for some of these organisations to discuss their work and conservation techniques whilst providing a method of raising funds ~ the total revenue from this conference will be split between the contributing organisations. We will be discussing ecology, conservation and veterinary intervention in African species, and so hopefully the content will appeal to a broad range of people with many different interests.

Until then, I will be posting blog posts on our speakers and we would love for you to engage with some of our other content. Over lockdown we have been hard at work tailoring courses for as many groups as possible and hopefully you would find something that relates to you and your interests. This includes veterinary courses made by renowned wildlife vet Dr Peter Rogers which provides some unique content on the species that he has worked with for 30+ years. There are many ecology courses including some produced by speakers at the conference, and these often include an opportunity to contribute towards their work and have a real impact on conservation in Africa from the comfort of your own home! Finally, we have slowly been increasing courses on environmental goals so hopefully an opportunity for everyone to take part. We are excited for everyone to engage with us and our content and we look forward to seeing you at the conference.

Izzy (TEP Ambassador)

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