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was rewarded when the Magaliesberg

Biosphere was officially designated a

biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

Thanks to funding from the Critical

Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF),

we’ve mobilised the process for the

Midmar to Albert Falls Biosphere

Initiative,

which, when successfully

concluded, will be KwaZulu-Natal’s first

UNESCO registered biosphere. In its

early stages of implementation, work

was done with public and private sector

stakeholders to introduce the biosphere

concept, explore advantages, identify

challenges and generate a sense of

understanding and willingness to

engage in the process. The purpose of

the Biosphere Reserve is to not only

consolidate the existing protected

areas under a shared conservation

strategy, but to also grow to include the

pockets of land and communities

co-existing in this fragile environment.

We’re engaging with communities

of the

Ntsubane Forest Complex

on

the Wild Coast. This is regarded as one

of the most important and diverse

forests of South Africa. Unfortunately,

however, it is under extreme pressure

as a result of poor management, social

pressures and degradation. There is

often a lack of communication and

interaction between communities,

legislation, livelihood needs and

conservation priorities. As a result of

this we, together with strategic

partners, are involved in projects that

promote principles of co-management

of natural resources, forest zonation

maps for management decisions and

related activities. This work has been

shared with the Department of Forestry

and Fisheries, Eastern Cape Parks and

Tourism Agency and Environmental

Affairs as part of developing a

protected areas strategy for Ntsubane.

Supporting the conservation of

key species

We’ve been involved in elephant

conservation issues for most of our

90-year existence. We continue to work

for the conservation of this iconic

species through the

WESSA Elephant

Initiative.

Activities include raising

awareness about wildlife crime and the

need for extensive ecosystem

conservation using elephants as a

“keystone” species. We also raise

awareness around elephant poaching

and the trade of ivory as a threat to the

survival of many elephant populations

across Africa. Educating the youth

about elephants and their value to

humans is another one of our priorities.

We hope to improve elephant

population management in South Africa

through the funding of different

research studies of elephants.

The main objective of the

WESSA

Rhino Initiative,

established in early

2010, is to raise funds and awareness in

order to help curb rhino poaching, and

to actively implement and support

anti-poaching interventions at several

levels to secure wild rhino populations.

Our work is proactive and aimed at

lasting solutions that will benefit rhinos,

as well as elephants and other wildlife.

We’ve done work across many of the

major rhino populated provinces. Areas

in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and

Limpopo provinces (Kruger National

Park complex) are of particular

importance as, when combined, they

are home to the majority of the world’s

rhinos. We’re also working with a

number of other credible and

like-minded organisations to optimise

resources in the fight against rhino

poaching.