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Supporting rural collectives and seeding new conservation approaches

Environment Programme / Partner story

© Markus Hofmeyr/ Oak Foundation

The seeds for a new conservation approach were sown in South Africa’s Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain World Heritage Site in July 2020. Rather than the conventional, conservative response to rescuing orphan rhinos, Care for Wild (CFW), the largest orphan rhino sanctuary in the world and Barberton Nature Reserve, forged trusted partnerships with key institutions and people from local communities. It formed a consortium, which shares the vision of providing for the long-term financial support of the conservation area, through market-based approaches. This will include: a comprehensive commercial agricultural programme jointly owned and run by CFW; a pioneering plan for pastoralism; and a new approach to collaboration with historical gold mines for conservation outcomes. This will be achieved through investments into multi-generational annuity funds and pay-outs linked to joint management plans that have been agreed on by the community, conservation staff, and stakeholders.

This means that the project will secure free-ranging white and black rhinoceros populations within a healthy and secure ecosystem, underpinned by profitable projects, which ensure financial sustainability and equitable participation by the community. This has helped garner the full support of all who live and work in the area. “Our vision of inclusive community involvement addresses some of these global challenges we face together,” says Nico Oosthuizen, director at Care for Wild.

If you want to know more about what our Environment Programme is doing visit the strategy page on our website.