Wildlife | WWF South Africa

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We need to value our diverse wildlife.

South Africa is home to iconic wildlife including the largest land mammals – the African elephant and rhinos. In recent years, these species have been under increased pressure due to reduced habitat and demand for ivory and rhino horn. Rising poaching levels threaten the future of these animals.

Why does it matter?

Wildlife are crucial to nature’s delicate web of life. Yet their biggest threats are due to human impacts on the environment. These include habitat loss and overexploitation through illegal trade, both local and international.

Demand from Asia, for wildlife parts and products, continues to drive this black market trade. This challenge is exacerbated by the involvement of organised crime networks.  

Wildlife is also essential for tourism in South Africa. It creates opportunities and benefits for local communities living around protected areas as well as the broader economy.

Did you know?

South Africa is home to 19 000 white rhinos and 2 000 black rhino. There are also estimated to be about 27 000 elephants.

What is WWF doing?

WWF has been involved in species conservation and addressing the threats to wildlife since the 1960s. More recently we work closely with rural communities who live near to major wildlife areas. By empowering people who might otherwise be open to exploitation, we enable the community to benefit from – and value – wildlife, alive rather than dead.

In all we do, we take a holistic approach towards ensuring that wildlife is valued by people and able to thrive within functioning well-managed landscapes. 

What can you do?

Support WWF’s conservation work and stay up to date on exciting rhino news and special behind-the-scenes stories.
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