Rhino Run Wines

The WWF-SA recently launched a new rhino conservation programme that is born from the belief that front-line communities are key in a long term strategy to halt the disastrous increase in rhino poaching.

Rural Initiative for a Sustainable Environment in South Africa (RISE) is a community based natural resource management programme that builds on the success of a similar project that has run for 20 years in Namibia. The Namibian “Living in a Finite Environment” (LIFE) project has shown the conservation benefits of linking wildlife with the improving of livelihoods of the communities in and around conservation areas.

In the long term, the people in the community then see real benefits from conservation efforts and take ownership, becoming wildlife custodians. While traditionally humans and wildlife have been in competition for resources, projects like LIFE have shown that sustainable management can be one of the most profitable land uses in Africa, according to dr. Jo Shaw, Rhino Programme Manager for WWF-SA.

RISE is also in line with the WWF-SA’s five key strategic goals to tackle rhino poaching not only by protecting the animals directly, but by having a long-term effect on the local and international dynamics of the illegal trade in rhino horn.

WWF-SA CEO Dr. Morné Du Plessis said in media statements: “There is no single solution to the current threats to our rhino populations, which is why WWF works strategically to combat the issue on numerous fronts – key leverage points – which hold potential for tangible change. We believe Community Based Natural Resource Management can be one of these levers.”

RISE will work in carefully identified project areas, forming community committees to coordinate the transfer of skills in management, governance and finance. The WWF project workers will also mentor the community committees in creating legal structures that allow the equitable sharing of income and benefits from conservation efforts.

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