Environmentalists are scrambling to ensure that a land claim settlement in Mpumalanga does not mean death for South Africa's most endangered bird, the blue swallow. The misty grasslands of Kaapschehoop are home to 10 of the estimated 60 to 80 breeding pairs of blue swallows left.
Provincial parks boards are fighting a rearguard battle against draft legislation that could allow the central government to take control of their prime ecotourism attractions. The threat is contained in two draft Bills dealing with the management of natural resources.
Conservationists are worried that proposed national legislation for the management of predators will see ''canned'' hunting replaced by a new form of sophisticated ''candy-coated'' hunting. The new proposals leave loopholes that will be exploited by unscrupulous breeders.
Packages costing between R9500 and R18 500 a night are being offered to summit delegates and South African corporates. The price of this ''VIP South African safari with Nelson Mandela'' includes a ''full-stage African extravaganza'', five-course dinner, game drive and ''limited cigars''.
A row over the opening concert for the World Summit on Sustainable Development underscores tensions between the ''greens'' and President Thabo Mbeki's pro-Nepad (New Partnership for Africa's Development) team organising the mega-event in Johannesburg later this month.
International wildlife groups are investigating SA's role in the shipment of highly endangered gorillas to Malaysia by an endangered-species smuggling ring known as ''The Nigerian Connection''. Four young gorillas aged passed through Johannesburg International airport earlier this year.
Critics say the government has come out in favour of whale hunting to curry political support for trade in ivory and rhino horn. At the International Whaling Commission, government representatives supported a scheme that would make it possible for commercial whaling to resume.
The government is considering an application to rehabilitate the world's rarest tigers, the South China tigers, in an ambitious attempt to save them from extinction. The plan is to ''train'' captive-bred tigers to be self-sufficient.