Wildlife The South African Way

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The spotted-necked otter has a more limited territory. Both are rare, however, and difficult to spot. Once erroneously reviled as indiscriminate killers but now appreciated both for their ecological value and their remarkably caring family behaviour, wild dog packs require vast territories. More common canine carnivores are the hyaena, jackal and bat-eared fox. Feline carnivores — besides the big cats mentioned above — include the caracal with its characteristic tufted ears, the African wild cat and the rare black-footed cat. Other flesh eaters include the civet, genet and several kinds of mongoose.


The plant eaters are well represented by various antelope, from the little duiker to the large kudu and superbly handsome sable antelope, which is found only in the most northerly regions. And they take to the sea. The largest mammal of all — in South Africa and the world — is the blue whale, which can grow to 33 metres in length. But of the eight whale species found in South African waters including the dramatic black-and-white killer whale , the most frequently seen by humans is the southern right whale. This imposing creature comes into coastal bays to calve, allowing for superb land-based viewing.

With the greater familiarity that their return to the coastal bays has produced, they are now as well loved as the many dolphins in our coastal waters. Various line fish, rock lobster and abalone are of particular interest to gourmets, while pelagic fish sardines and pilchards and hake have large- scale commercial value. Less generously endowed with freshwater fish — named species, a mere 1.

A Brief Guide to Wild Animals in South Africa

The crocodile still rules some stretches of river and estuary, lakes and pools, exacting an occasional toll in human life. Other aquatic reptiles of note are the sea-roaming loggerhead and leatherback turtles, the focus of a major community conservation effort at their nesting grounds on the northern KwaZulu-Natal shoreline. There are well over species of snake. While about half of them, including the python, are non-venomous, others — such as the puffadder, green and black mamba, boomslang and rinkhals — are decidedly so. Of the or so species that have been recorded in South Africa, about are resident or annual visitors, and about 50 of these are endemic or near-endemic.

Apart from the resident birds, South Africa hosts a number of intra-African migrants such as cuckoos and kingfishers, as well as birds from the Arctic, Europe, Central Asia, China and Antarctica during the year. One small area alone, around the town of Vryheid in northern KwaZulu-Natal, offers wetlands, grasslands, thornveld and both montane and riverine forest, and around species have been recorded there. And that would by no means complete the list. Among the most spectacular birds of South Africa are the cranes, most easily spotted in wetlands — although the wattled crane is a lucky find as it is extremely uncommon.

Among its larger bird species, South Africa also has several eagles and vultures. Among its most colourful are kingfishers, bee-eaters, sunbirds, the exquisite lilacbreasted roller, and the Knysna and purple-crested louries. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.

Brand South Africa. Log into your account. Register for an account. Recover your password. Share on Facebook. One only needs to look at how cheap a black life truly is to white people by comparing the fact that 34 black mineworkers are massacred in broad daylight, and white people never even run a petition online. Yet, there is a big campaign and a huge investment in saving the rhino This tells you, right here in South Africa, a country with a majority of blacks, that black people are worth less than rhinos.

Indeed, the marginalisation of black South Africans - including those in communities neighbouring game reserves - has resulted in the belief that wildlife is prioritised over 'black rural lives'. She said that resources were not being directed at animals instead of humans, and that both could be protected. She suggested that Malema's comments may undermine the positive conservation strides made together with communities bordering game reserves. Market research conducted by anti-wildlife trade organisation WildAid appears to support Molewa's belief that concern for rhinos is a nationwide phenomenon.

These results suggest that most South Africans care about wildlife, even if they are not directly involved therewith. Even if WildAid's data are accurate, such attitudes may mean little in contexts of great poverty and hardship. Members of communities bordering game reserves should be provided with work opportunities, such as game ranger or craft work. Reserves could also give back to communities by giving their children opportunities to see wildlife, for example.

In this way, communities would hopefully become invested in the reserves and their animals, and provide information on potential poaching incidents. However, such ventures should not result in community members being given low-paid work that reinforces their marginalisation.

An example of a successful initiative of this kind is found in the Zakouma National Park in Chad. As of , a team of conservationists and rangers have reduced elephant poaching and increased the elephant population by instituting strict anti-poaching measures and involving the communities in the park's work. Before the intervention, community members were unfamiliar with the park's operations and had never seen wildlife such as elephant and giraffe.

An arrangement was established to take 40 citizens into the park each day during the dry season, meaning that approximately 5 individuals are given the opportunity to see the animals each year.

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Chadians are also allowed to stay at one of the park's camps without charge. South African citizens should also have the right to access local game reserves without having to spend money. In addition to this, it is critical that communities are provided with the necessities of life, such as access to water and a basic income. Until such transformation takes place, my proposal that wildlife crime be considered a form of cultural victimisation is unlikely to And broad appeal, despite its merits.

Therefore, the abovementioned perception of cultural victimisation might presently be relevant only to those who are privileged enough to see wildlife for themselves. In this commentary piece, I have suggested that wildlife crime can be considered a form of cultural victimisation for people who feel that their identities intersect with wildlife. Because of the poaching of animals such as rhino, some people feel personally harmed. Yet, for many South Africans, it would appear that wildlife holds little or no value - belonging to the exclusive realm of the safari-holidaying elite rather than the average citizen.

The problem with animal encounters

My opinion, however, is that South Africa's wildlife heritage belongs to all its citizens and that if it were accessible to everyone - as it should be - more people would feel aggrieved by wildlife crime. This issue has unfortunately become yet another glaring reminder of the inequality in our country. Nonetheless, I believe that crimes against wildlife victimise all South Africans, as they destroy cultural heritage that should be passed on to future generations.

This destruction - leading to the partial or total decimation of species - will leave an ecological and cultural vacuum that will likely be impossible to fill. Not only are wildlife crimes an affront to the heritage of South Africa's middle or upper classes who already have access to wildlife, but it is a tragedy for those who do not.

It is unthinkable that because of poaching, some people and their descendants may never see animals in their natural habitats, or at all. This would be an ultimate and irreparable form of cultural victimisation. The Big Five are rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard. He has campaigned since the s in defence of rhino. PDF accessed 7 June All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Services on Demand Article. English pdf Article in xml format Article references How to cite this article Automatic translation. Access statistics. Cited by Google Similars in Google. The illicit wildlife market The illicit trade in wildlife which includes living or deceased animals, plants, or products thereof is believed to be one of the most profitable on the global black market. In a speech, President Jacob Zuma highlighted the cultural significance of species such as rhinos, declaring: Rhino are the heritage of each and every South African.

South Africa Safaris

The case against cultural victimisation Most South Africans likely have little or no exposure to wildlife as something to be viewed for enjoyment. Conclusion In this commentary piece, I have suggested that wildlife crime can be considered a form of cultural victimisation for people who feel that their identities intersect with wildlife. Notes 1 While 13 rhino were poached in South Africa in , the deaths have risen rapidly, with 1 rhino killed in Institute for Security Studies P. How to cite this article.