Africans urged to take an interest in wildlife conservation

the herald

Sifelani Tsiko

Agriculture, Environment & Innovations Editor

Africans should be motivated to take an interest in nature and wildlife conservation in order to amplify their voice and sustain their interest in wildlife conservation, which benefits all sectors of the African economy, said a senior African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) official.

AWF Vice President for Species Conservation and Science, Dr. Phillip Muruthi said this at the prestigious Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition held recently in Harare to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the African Wildlife Foundation.

“Unfortunately, conservation and decisions about African wildlife have largely excluded Africans. The result is that Africans are increasingly estranged and disconnected from nature. The bottom line – they’re not asking their governments to make conservation a priority,” he said.

“And those of us who do – and there are many who do – have little or no voice, no meaningful chance to share African perspectives and knowledge about our own natural heritage.”

He said there is a need to think and act much more ambitiously when it comes to leadership and promoting African understanding of wildlife issues.

“From the rural classroom to African political assemblies to United Nations negotiating rooms and private sector boardrooms, we need to change the way we do conservation,” Dr Muruthi said.

“It can no longer be just about NGOs and their donors investing in protection agencies’ management plans, law enforcement work, research and ranger patrols – without the majority of Africans become passionate and the relentless voice of wildlife protection.

“This change ensures that Africans – especially young people – step up and express their interests in the conservation of wildlife and wild lands. As NGOs, our work must be owned and led by institutions, governments and communities. African peoples.

AWF, he said, would only be successful if it focused its work on advising and assisting national governments and Africans, especially young Africans, to navigate the transition to economic modernity with a meaningful and representative complement of wildlife and untouched wild lands.

Zimbabwe hosted the prestigious Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition on Tuesday this week to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the African Wildlife Foundation.

The Mkapa Photo Awards are named in honor of one of Africa’s most beloved leaders – Benjamin Mkapa who served as President of Tanzania from 1995 to 2005.

Mkapa was one of the longest-serving trustees of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) whose passion and commitment to conservation and African leadership inspired the design of this annual global competition focused on bringing the Africa to the world and from the world to Africa.

In a speech read on his behalf by Permanent Secretary Munesu Munodawafa, Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndhlovu said the expo was important for Africa in many ways. .

“It inspires Africans to embrace and engage with nature. It sensitizes our people to the importance of nature conservation on which we depend for our livelihoods and well-being,” he said. declared.

“It reminds us of the unique natural heritage we have and the unique relationship we have with our wild animals and our wild spaces.

“It outlines some of the challenges we face on our conservation journey, such as poaching, human-wildlife conflict, climate change, illegal wildlife trade and wildlife trafficking, among others. In doing so, it sparks thoughts and ideas for potential solutions and policy responses to these conservation challenges.

Minister Ndhlovu said the exhibit reminded Africans of the possibility and importance of harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife.

“Photographs tell the story of African conservation more vividly than a thousand words,” he said.

The Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards 2022 exhibition showcased some of the finest nature photography captured in Africa.

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