Efforts to feed staff in Southern Africa's wildlife parks
Conservation is as much about people as it is wildlife. As COVID-19 lockdown continues, thousands of people living in impoverished African rural communities adjacent to game reserves have lost their jobs and income, and food insecurity is a growing crisis.
Working together to show that the conservation sector cares, Nkombe
Rhino NPC, the African Conservation Trust, Project Rhino, Kingsley Holgate (who invariably added massive value to the project) and other partners (like former international rugby player Joe Pietersen and famous cricketer Kyle Abbot) pooled their resources and efforts to help feed families, rangers and wildlife communities across South Africa.
A movement called FRWC was officially formed and each of the team members put bucks on the table and within a week the first 1.5 tonne load, equal to 15,000 meals of 5 kg nutritional porridge bags was on its way. At just R1 per meal, it is a cost-effective way of providing hungry people with their daily source of essential vitamins and minerals.
By working through the chiefs and indunas (tribal councillor) and the game reserves, community liaison people provide the team with the names of the homesteads in need. Working in small groups they are able to social distance, which is sometimes very difficult because it’s just not the African way.
The rains have been exceptional this year and at least livestock is fat and the wildlife areas in which they work are like gardens of Eden. With no tourists and with thousands of casual workers laid off however its tough, but like all things it will pass, borders will open and they’ll be to further the relationship building between communities and wildlife.