13 December 2017

The African safari industry is, obviously, totally dependent on the wildlife and wild areas in which it operates. It is also, even more dependent on the participation and support of the rural people who live in and around these wildlife areas. It is essential that the whole industry, from supplier to operator to traveller, steps up and contributes significantly to the conservation of the wilderness and to the socio-economic development of the people who also depend on that land for their survival and well-being.

Many in the safari industry are playing their part with a wide range of investments into conservation and communities, manifest in a variety of ways. Today the term “responsible tourism” is particularly applicable when considering a future for wildlife and rural people. There are a lot of depressing stories out there about declining wild areas and wildlife; poverty and growing human populations and corruption fuelling rampant poaching. However, there are also much happening out there that gives cause for hope. This is just one of those stories - “Miracle in Matabeleland”


12 December 2017

African Parks have recently signed an agreement with the Government of Mozambique to manage the Bazaruto National Park in the Bazaruto Archipelago near the town of Vilanculos. Having spent many holidays there as a child and teenager and then, until 2008, worked on a number of conservation projects there, I am well aware of just how important a marine conservation area it is. I am also aware of how difficult it will be to balance the biodiversity conservation objectives with the large human population in the area, many of whom rely on artisanal fishing and marine harvesting for survival. African Parks have done amazing work in conservation and rural development in some off the most remote and dangerous locations around Africa. To any one who can, support their efforts - the Bazaruto Archipelago is truly one of the most beautiful and important places on the Mozambique Coast.


9 November 2017  :  African Parks : Gorillas and Chimpanzees

African Parks are reporting that sixty percent of the entire species population of critically endangered western lowland gorillas lives in the Republic of Congo; and Odzala National Park, which is managed by African Park, is home to an estimated 22,000 western lowland gorillas and 2,700 chimpanzees.

In Chinko in the Central African Republic, the results from a survey conducted in 2015, indicated there are as many as 800 chimpanzees living just east of the conservation area.


9 November 2017  :  Seabed Phosphate Mining

The possibility of seabed phosphate mining off the South African coast is nothing less than a potential marine disaster. The ecological and long term economic effects on the South Africa coastline, ocean and marine economy are potentially extreme - all in the name of short term financial returns for a few of private businesses, when environmentally suitable options for phosphate production are readily available.

"The Department of Mineral Resources has granted three prospecting rights over vast areas of the sea floor that could signal the start of a mining process to grind up the seabed to extract phosphate. The resulting sediment would be dumped back into the water column as liquid “dust”, posing a threat to ocean ecosystems, fish and fisheries. What it would do to the seabed is almost unimaginable.

The licences cover 150,000km2 within South Africa’s western and southern Exclusive Economic Zone and were awarded to Green Flash Trading 251, Green Flash Trading 257 and Diamond Fields International.

Bulk marine sediment mining uses a suction hopper dredge which gouges the sediment to a depth of three metres. It’s dredge head, which is about 11 metres wide with cutting teeth and high-pressure water jets, is dragged across the sea floor, crushing hard sediment and sucking it – and everything else in the way – up a tube. Once the phosphate has been filtered out, all excess water and fine particulate is flushed back into the sea, creating a sediment plume.

The above, and the diagrams, are extracts from the original article by Don Pinnock writing in the Daily Maverick :

A map shows the three marine prospecting rights on the sea floor.

How proposed mining areas overlap existing fishing areas.

Greenflash Trading (  :  “Here at Green Flash Trading we care about the planet and we aim to meet the latest local and international standards concerning environmentally friendly products and manufacturing processes.

Diamond Fields International Ltd (  :  “… is a mining company with marine and land based exploration and mining licences in several areas of the world. DFI is one of only a handful of mining companies to have successfully commercially mined the ocean. ………. all with the goal of increasing shareholder value.”


10 October 2017           Greater Zakouma Functional Ecosystem

The Government of the Republic of Chad and African Parks announced on Tuesday, 10th October the signing of an agreement for the management and protection of key reserves of Siniaka Minia and Bahr-Salamat, and wildlife corridors around Zakouma National Park, to create the Greater Zakouma Functional Ecosystem. African Parks, a conservation NGO which manages protected areas on behalf of governments across Africa, has managed Zakouma National Park since 2010.

Zakouma National Park is home to the country’s largest population of elephants, which was reduced by 95% due to rampant poaching between 2002 and 2010. In the seven years since Chad delegated management to African Parks, law enforcement measures and community programmes have practically eliminated poaching and the elephant population is on the increase for the first time in a decade. 

The key priorities are to reduce poaching and human-wildlife conflict through the improvement of law enforcement and to contribute to socio-economic development. In addition,
 the Governments of Chad and South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable African Parks to translocate a founder population of black rhinoceros from South Africa to Zakouma for reintroduction next year. This commitment to fortifying security and eliminating poaching to facilitate the safe return of key species is a critical component of the restoration of Zakouma, and the larger ecosystem. 

Curriculum Vitae                                                   Conservation    Community    Commerce    Culture                                      © David Peddie 2017