Insaka Symposium: Sustaining the ecosystem service benefits from green and ecological infrastructure
Annette Hübschle presented the preliminary findings of her research on communities and conservation at the Insaka International Symposium held at the Mopani Rest Camp in Kruger National Park from 11 to 14 June 2018. Entitled “Design principles for pro-poor and inclusive conservation”, Annette’s presentation focused on local communities as change agents in conservation outcomes. A large number of anti-poaching, conservation and management measures have been implemented to protect rhinos. None of these responses has achieved tangible results in lowering unnatural rhino deaths through illegal hunting in southern Africa. The international donor community, conservation NGOs and governments have disbursed millions of dollars to fight this illegal wildlife trade, and continue to do so. Annette argues that these measures are bound to fail, as they do not engage with the most important change agents in conservation: local people who live in or near protected areas and game reserves. The research therefore aims to provide a better understanding of why African rural communities participate in wildlife economies, both legal and illegal, and how alternative, community-oriented strategies can help build a more resilient response to organized wildlife crime than has hitherto been achieved.