Rhino poaching: Reserves must up game

 (“Inaction is the worst possible rhino strategy”, May 17). Harvesting or not harvesting rhino horn remains an ­academic issue if the resource is under threat – and it is.

There are thousands of Africans who live on the periphery of game reserves like Sabi Sand, Africans who were displaced from their heritage and now receive very little benefit from an estate where international punters such as Sir Richard Branson and the high-flyers of South Africa stable their wildlife.

There are in excess of 30 commercial lodges and a number of dwellings scattered around estates which procure precious little from the people living in settlements that abut them.

Besides labour for the lodges, goods and services that could be supplied locally are imported from urban centres some way away from these African heritage hubs.

A little less academic debate and pseudo-academic research, which are common forms of inertia in African heritage hubs, might start changing the African landscape. A bit more action by the conservation economy in creating more opportunities for Africans alienated from their heritage to benefit from that heritage will reverse the destruction and devastation. As Parker says: “It’s the African heritage that is being laid waste.”

If there is a not a concerted effort by conservation and tourism clusters such as Sabi Sand to include ­community and local enterprise in the conservation economy, the door is going to close – not just a window.  – Clive Poultney, Pretoria


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