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We need to value our diverse wildlife.

© Brent Stirton/WWF-UK

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 around 15 000 white rhinos and 2 000 black rhino.

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. Our influence in wildlife conservation policies assists in balancing environmental goals against social, political and economic needs. 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?

When we take care of our wildlife, we safeguard our heritage for future generations. You can make a difference by helping us conserve South Africa’s iconic species.

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Always inspect any natural crafts or ornaments you buy to check what they are made from.

© Melissa du Preez