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 Post subject: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:46 pm 
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AN INTRODUCTION TO THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA

BACKGROUND

The Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) was founded in 1970 as a non-racial, non-political organisation. The Game Rangers Association of Africa is a properly constituted association and has been registered as a non-profit organisation and has been granted exemption from taxes on donations.

Although now thirty years old, the Association and with the right support, can soon reach its full potential as a major force in the conservation arena of Africa.

The Game Rangers Association of Africa believes that the continued future existence of Africa’s wilderness and its wildlife is ultimately and irrevocably linked to the expertise, ethics and motivation of those tasked with the “on the ground” protection and management of this priceless asset. This involves inter alia the promotion of and the sustainable utilization of natural resources, ecotourism, community involvement and environmental education.

The Ranger in Africa has many real needs, but without relevant training the Ranger will fail, and Africa’s priceless natural and cultural heritage will be lost forever.

During the Third World Congress of the International Ranger Federation held in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, during September 2000, a Memorandum of African Continental Understanding was signed by all of the African delegates present.

This Protocol acknowledges the Game Rangers Association of Africa as the voice of the Ranger in Africa, and binds the signatories into forming National Associations within their own countries, which Associations will be affiliated to the Game Rangers Association of Africa.

The Game Rangers Association of Africa currently has a membership of over 600 from all over Africa, which is growing steadily, and will grow even more rapidly as National Associations are formed throughout Africa.

Although the majority of members live and work in Southern Africa, members come from all over Africa and can even be found on all continents outside of Africa.

Membership includes well-known international figures of Dr Ian Player of South Africa and Dr Ian Khama of Botswana.

MANIFESTO OF THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA

The work of a Game Ranger is the safekeeping of wild game, in the natural communities and native landscapes where these animals have always lived.

This is a custodianship which guards the future genetic diversity inherited from the past. For in these wild places is the testament of the laws of the Earth.

Here is the insurance of the loss of matter essential to life’s survival on this planet. No other motive can displace or alter these.

As an executor of the natural estates, the Game Ranger may not diminish its assets, nor be party to their depletion. There are terms to this duty that are known, and there are those still to be learnt. Within these limits only may he move; since natural law determines them.

To seek their understanding and to act in its light is part of the trust that he accepts.


VISION OF THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA

The Game Rangers Association of Africa commits itself to the preservation, conservation and where possible, restoration of Africa’s bio-diversity and the continued existence of its wilderness.


MISSION OF THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA

The Future of conservation in Africa and the preservation of its wilderness lie in the hands of its natural resource managers and field rangers.

The Game Rangers Association of Africa is committed to ensure that those responsible for the future of conservation in Africa are dedicated, motivated, skills-trained, ethical and professional in the execution of their duties.


OBJECTIVES OF THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA

The objectives of the Association are to: -

Ensure that Game Rangers are adequately trained and equipped to carry out their primary responsibility of maintaining the integrity of wilderness areas, protected areas and other natural areas in which they work;
contribute information and advice to those organisations which train Game Rangers to ensure that their training is appropriate and professional;

Represent present and past Game Rangers and their interests in order to ensure the highest standards and credibility of the profession;
give professional, objective and responsible advice, opinions and information on the game ranging profession;

Facilitate the establishment and maintenance of contact and communication between Game Rangers, past and present, throughout the world and especially in Africa;

Asess, support and promote wildlife conservation management throughout Africa and the rest of the world;

Promote the implementation of appropriate protected area management systems as required by international conventions and agreements, and that their effectiveness be assessed and reported on throughout Africa;
aim to ensure that policy and legislation relating to wilderness areas, protected areas and other natural areas in Africa remain compatible to the values of the GRAA as expressed in the Manifesto, Vision and Mission of the Association;

Affiliate with other organisations which share common goals, ethics and objectives;

Actively promote support for the Association;

Manage the affairs of the Association so as not to carry on any profit making activities not relating to its objectives, or to participate in any business, profession or occupation carried on by its members, or to provide financial assistance, premises, continuous services or facilities to its members for the purpose of carrying on any business, profession or occupation by them;

Ensure that the activities of the Association will be carried on with the sole purpose of promoting its objectives.

THE GAME RANGER PROFESSION

Game Rangers are wildlife managers and the field force in Africa, working at the “coal face” of conservation. In Africa the prime responsibility of the Game Ranger is to ensure the territorial integrity of the protected area under his/her management.

Their tasks are multi-faceted and include research and monitoring, game capture and introductions, population management, burning programs, infrastructure and equipment maintenance, public relations, environmental education, community liaison and involvement, financial and human resource planning and administration.

Theirs is often a difficult, dangerous and thankless task for which they receive very little remuneration and recognition and seemingly minuscule support both morally and financially.

For their dedication many have in the past, and no doubt will in future, pay with their lives.


AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN WILDLIFE COLLEGE (SAWC)

BACKGROUND

The Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) was established in 1996 as a project of WWF (SA) after close cooperation with all interested and affected parties in Southern Africa, including government, conservation agencies, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The establishment of SAWC was funded by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and for the last 10 years the College has been training natural resource managers from national and private protected areas throughout Africa. Recently, the Peace Parks Foundation have taken over the responsibility of SAWC and with their support, the College proudly continues to strive toward capacity building of conservation staff in Africa, with a special focus on the newly emerging trans-frontier conservation areas.

The SAWC is an independent SADC training institution and does not receive a government subsidy and is a registered Non-profit Organization.

The SAWC is a SADC recognised centre of specialization and is fully Accreditation by THETA (Tourism, Hospitality and Sport, Education and Training Authority, Provider Accreditation No 613/P/000001/2004). Furthermore the SAWC is a lead provider for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) in both Conservation and Tour Guiding for in the Limpopo-Mpumalanga Provinces. It is also a member of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as a national non governmental organization.

VISION

To be a regionally recognised centre of excellence in conservation education and training in Africa.

MISSION STATEMENT

The main objective of the company is to provide people from Africa with the required motivation and relevant skills to manage and conserve their protected areas and associated fauna and flora on a sustainable basis in cooperation with local communities.

KEY STRATEGIES

To provide and develop high quality, informative and inspiring courses for natural heritage managers and other interested parties.

To strive for recognition as a regional rather than a national institution by working closely with other Southern African training initiatives.

To provide accreditation of training courses that will attain recognition in their own right but will also complement and link into the spectrum of protected area natural resource management training options available in Southern Africa.

Use training as a vehicle for the exchange of ideas, information and expertise in order to promote co-operation between conservation organizations and cultures.

Be a dynamic, flexible and service-orientated organization, which aims to become a role model for socially and environmentally responsible development.

Promote an integrated approach to the management of natural resource and protected areas that is appropriate to Africa, focusing especially on the role of local communities and other stakeholders in the sustainable management of resources.

May the Roar of the African Lion be heard by the Children of our Children’s Children Forever

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:52 pm 
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Here below is an extract from the Game Rangers Association of Africa.

THE GAME RANGER
"We have lived in the best time and seen the wonders of wildlife...and belong to a brotherhood the members of which have memories that cannot be matched..."Sir Alfred Pease.

What is a Game Ranger?

In Africa, the Game Ranger goes by many different titles - Game Ranger, Game Warden, Conservation Officer, and many more, yet all are essentially the wildlife managers and the field force in Africa, working at the "coal face" of conservation. In Africa the prime responsibility of the Game Ranger is to ensure the territorial integrity and safety of the protected area under his/her management. Their tasks are multi-faceted and include; ensuring the day to day health and well-being of the game, research and monitoring, game capture and introductions, population management, burning programs, infrastructure and equipment maintenance, public relations, environmental education, and, crucially, local community relations, liaison and involvement. Added to these are the normal day to day financial controls, human resource planning and administration, which must also be carried out.

Theirs is often a difficult, dangerous and thankless task for which they receive very little remuneration and recognition and seemingly minuscule support both morally and financially.
For their dedication, many have in the past, and no doubt will in future, pay with their lives.

Game Ranging is a field that encompasses many aspects of conservation work and includes, but is not restricted to the following :-

Territorial integrity and law enforcement:

Actively combat potential or actual threats to the area of management.

Natural studies and scientific support:

Study, monitor, record and report on natural occurrences and phenomenon, and field collection of data and samples.

Management planning and implementation:

Planning and carrying out of actions - inclusive of at least the following; erosion and alien plant control, fire management and game population control.

Sustainable resource utilisation:

Promote the value of , and prevent the degradation/destruction of natural resources.

Environmental education:

Contribute towards a public general awareness of conservation.

Community relations:

Contribute towards acceptance by, and cooperation of, neighbouring communities in conservation management.

THE PRESENT STATUS

In Africa, there are pockets of expertise where the professional standard of Rangers is amongst the highest in the world. However, the general level of expertise is steadily diminishing. Unless halted, this will result in a conservation catastrophe for the continent.
The past twenty years have seen vast natural areas in Africa destroyed and denuded of viable wildlife populations.

Illegal Coltan mining in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has resulted in rare lowland gorillas and chimpanzees being slaughtered and eaten. The gorilla population alone has been reduced from an estimated 8000 to around 1000 in less than three years.

In 1975, Rwanda's Virunga National Park boasted the world's largest concentration of hippos - an estimated 35,000. By1998 this had fallen to 2000 and today there are no longer even reliable statistics available. Excluding those killed during the civil war, around 80 game rangers have been murdered in the DRC whilst on patrol.

Zambia openly admits that poachers rule its largest game reserve, the 22,400 sq. km Kafue National Park, due to a chronic shortage of game rangers. Conservationists say that at least 2000 are needed to professionally manage a park of that size. In fact there are less than 500 with inadequate equipment and facilities. The rhino population has already succumbed to the poacher's gun and the insatiable demands of oriental medicine and the bush meat trade flourishes unchecked in a rapidly declining animal population.

Zambian Tourist Ministry spokesman, Gabriel Tembo said," Kafue has been hit so heavily by poachers that if something is not done soon we might end up with a national park and no animals."

Many species, such as black rhino, have been reduced to the verge of extinction. The sad fact is that at the dawn of the 21st century, in a morass of conflicting interests, political instability and indifference, Africa's irreplaceable wildlife resource is in crisis with habitat and species destruction taking place at unprecedented levels throughout the continent.

Reasons for this are complex, but do include insufficient funding, inadequate training, lack of equipment, ineffective leadership, lack of motivation, corruption and political interference.

It is clear that a balanced and viable future for the continent's unique wildlife heritage, and its desperately needed eco-tourist revenues, depends heavily on the training and development of a trustworthy and properly motivated corps of professional Rangers.

Eco-tourism, perhaps potentially Africa's greatest industry, is becoming increasingly important to local and national economies but this trade is relying on a continuously diminishing asset.

The underestimated and all too often misunderstood contribution of the Game Ranger or Game Warden is pivotal in the struggle to save Africa's remaining wildlife. However too many are being marginalised or even killed.

Furthermore, a chronic shortage of responsibly targeted funds combined with an absence of support and encouragement contributes towards a severe diminution of the Game Ranger's effectiveness on the ground.

The most important remaining asset that conservation in Africa has is the existing reservoir of knowledge and expertise in wildlife management still possessed by many Rangers throughout the continent. The question is how to best use this expertise to the greatest advantage of conservation areas, local communities and fellow rangers.

The Future

Africa is unique. The natural assets of the continent surely cannot be equaled anywhere else on earth. Much of what has been destroyed can be rehabilitated, given adequate expertise and the will to do so. The expertise is in Africa but the funds are not.

Conservation bodies are receiving less and less funding every year. If we are to save these last remnants of our heritage in Africa, we will undoubtedly need the backing and financial assistance of First World governments and the private sector.

The Game Rangers Association of Africa is confident that it has the credibility and the expertise to address many of the existing and future problems that conservation in Africa is expecting to face in the next millennium. These include such important specifics as management training, equipment and motivation.

The GRAA can make a solid and positive contribution to socio-economic upliftment in the region, as well as to the long-term conservation of areas of international importance.

It is important that people realise that the Game Rangers are the work force for conservation in Africa.

The Rangers work at the "coal face" and without the Ranger ALL other conservation efforts, some of which cost many millions of dollars, will fail.

Just one small example is the $30 million, which has been raised to move 1000 elephants into the Mozambique side of the GKG Transfrontier Park, but without trained Game Rangers in place in Mozambique these elephants will be poached and killed and all that money and effort will mean nothing.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:56 pm 
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A JOINT TRAINING INITIATIVE BY THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA & SOUTHERN AFRICAN WILDLIFE COLLEGE

The Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) and the South African Wildlife College (SAWC) held talks on the 17 November 2006 to develop a partnership to offer Field Ranger training at the College.

A number of principles on the provision of equipment and operating procedures were agreed to have also been included in a formal Agreement between the GRAA and SAWC.

The most important decisions taken were:

A tented training facility consisting of ten safari tents and other basic equipment supplied by the GRAA to the value of R200 000.00 will be erected by the SAWC on site at the SAWC.

The SAWC will be the GRAA’s preferred training provider making available course accreditation and assessment together with all other infrastructure on site at the SAWC at rates that will be determined by agreement.

The SAWC will manage the tented training facility on behalf of the GRAA and utilise the facility when not being used by GRAA to the benefit of both parties.

SAWC will levy a management fee for the up-keep of the facility inclusive of insurance, payable by GRAA monthly.

WWF South Africa will provide the funds to build this facility to the amount of R178 000.00.

Income generated from SAWC use of the tented facility will be calculated on a 50/50 principle for accommodation used.

Initially there will be five courses will be offered annually for 20 Learners per course totalling 100 participants per year. Of this number at least 25% of the places on each course will be offered to unemployed persons to prepare them to apply for field ranger positions in formal nature conservation authorities or private wildlife / game reserves, provided that sponsorship of such trainees is available.

THE VENUE

The SAWC is situated in a natural Lowveld environment having access to conservation training areas both on site and in close proximity to the site that is situated in a Contractual SANPark. The College gate is located 10km west of the Orpen Gate to the Kruger National Park; the College itself is 2km north on a good gravel road.


THE TRAINING FACILITY

The facility will consist of ten Safari Tents on concrete slabs with a veranda and will be basically equipped with three beds, steel cupboards and chairs per tent. Although it is envisaged to build en suite bathrooms at a later stage, a communal ablution facility will be available.


COST OF TRAINING

THE TOTAL COST WOULD COVER 35 DAYS ASSUMING 20 LEARNERS:

ITEM DETAILS COST
Administrative costs


Administration & communication (Telephone, fax, email, internet, stationary, photocopies) R 3,500.00

Room and equipment rentals @ R450.00 pd (lecture room, audio visual equipment, training equipment, access to training area) R 13,500.00

Staff costs @ R240.00 pd (dedicated staff member to coordinate training arrangements during the course) R 7,200.00

Living Expenses for participants and trainers
Food (3 meals a day for 20 participants & 2 facilitators for 35 days @ R75 per day) R 57,750.00

Housing (on-site 20 students and 2 facilitators @ R60 per person per night) R 46,200.00

Travel Expenses for participants and trainers
Road travel (Trainers transport costs, student field trips) R 9,000.00

Materials

Manuals @ R150.00 per manual R 3,000.00

Training consumables (Ammunition, camping supplies, clothing and footwear) R 16,500.00

Other Expenses

Trainer fees @ R1750.00 pd R 52,500.00

Total course cost (assuming 20 learners) Excl VAT R 209,150.00

As a registered non profit organizations GRAA & SAWC are VAT exempt on training activities

Cost per learner R 10,457.50

Cost per learner per day R 298.79

Cost of five courses R 1,045,750.00

The current R299.00 per Learner per Day totalling R10 457.50 (rounded off at R10 500.00) is an all inclusive course-fee per participant. The GRAA is seeking donor funding for bursaries for a number of places on each of the courses totalling R1,050,000.00.


BENEFITS TO DONORS

Donors will be assisting young people in their training needs to commence a career in nature conservation in the formal and private sector.

The bursaries will also assisting the potential employers in filling vacancies with trained people so that the valuable natural and wildlife assets in the protected areas are effectively conserved.

Potential donors can:

Fund the total project, or
Per course, or
Part of a course, or
Single persons can also be sponsored.

FIELD RANGER TRAINING COURSE CONTENTS

This course is a skills program of the following of the National Certificate in Conservation Resource Guardianship:

Skills program title: Field Ranger (Unarmed) Registration No: CSV/FldRng/2/0043 (NQF level 2).


QUALIFICATION PURPOSE

A learner who has achieved this qualification will be able to perform a multiple set of roles in assisting with the maintenance of the integrity of a conserved area, by integrating operational knowledge and skills.


OUTCOMES

On achieving this qualification the learner will be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of nature conservation issues and conduct activities in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Carry out designated conservation security practices according to a plan, e.g. conduct routine security patrols in order to deter, detect and combat illegal activities within an area of responsibility.

Gather and report accurately on local and keystone wildlife species information to be used for population management purposes.

Demonstrate in their behaviour and lifestyle, a set of values and ethics centring on respect for self, others and the environment.

Demonstrate an understanding of HIV/AIDS and its implications.
Implement sound occupational health and safety practices in the workplace according to a plan.

Use firearms competently*

* The course does not include the cost of the SASSETA rifle handling unit standards which is the legal requirement for learners to be able to handle firearms.

This is 5 days training at an extra cost of around R2,000.00 per learner.

During the course air rifles will be used to simulate rifle handling procedures.

Some of the Learners who have excelled themselves will be invited to complete Module II as part of a later phase of training


JOB CREATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has recognised that travel and tourism are important economic drivers of the 21st century.

In September 1999, the South African Government launched a R180 million Tourism Action Plan as a blueprint for international marketing of South Africa. Foreign tourist numbers are growing by some 10% per annum. The tourism economy is based almost exclusively on eco-tourism, Africa’s natural wonders.

The burgeoning eco-tourism industry is the greatest job creator in Africa (8 jobs created with every one tourist bed filled) and provides massive economic development. All of this would be of no value without those well trained and equipped Rangers in the field, protecting the integrity of their areas and its wildlife for the tourist to enjoy.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:59 pm 
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PROTECTED AREA MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Time to put theory into practice

By Krissie Clark, Wayne Lotter & Jan Phelan

Many of us have worked in and visited numerous parks in Africa, and most of these times are associated with glorious and wonderful memories of these amazing reserves. And I am also sure there are many of us who have had these wonderful memories shattered, when a recent visit to a particular park or news on a park suggests that everything is in a state of disarray, with buildings and roads neglected, vegetation hammered from the heavy pressure of game, off road driving and wood collection or totally infested with invasive plants and the wildlife is being poached left, right and centre. Similarly, many of us know of protected areas that are just really parks on maps and that exist in the legislation (‘paper parks’), but offer little real protection. In reality, except for the 3 game scouts who sit under a tree all day with little ammunition, unserviceable rifles, and who poach the very wildlife they are supposed to be protecting, it would be difficult to guess that it was a game park or nature reserve. All this, while their manager spends most of his time attending meetings and busying himself with non essential issues, usually outside of the park. But who can blame them, when they have not been equipped or trained appropriately or managed consistently and according to clear achievable objectives? This is unfortunately the sad reality of many of Africa’s protected areas, which are under threat and exposed to mismanagement and degradation. It is thus no wonder that there has been an urgent call to find ways of ensuring effective management of protected areas.

Currently the management of protected areas largely depends on the quality and drive of its management staff and the resources available to them, but what protected areas really need is some structured system that will work towards set objectives and targets. A system that will identify risks within each protected area and set objectives to address these risks, address conservation concerns, clearly define roles and responsibilities, determine and promote best practices, reduce liabilities, identify gaps, help ensure legal compliance and provide a framework which will allow for regular monitoring and continual improvement. A system that would achieve and maintain effective management, regardless of the quality of its managers.

The goods news is that GRAA has developed an excellent tool that can do all of the above and it can even be used as a tool to actually implement those complicated Integrated Management/Development Plans that become the burden of many managers. This wonderfully useful and practical tool is known as PAMS, which is the acronym for a Protected Area Management System.

For several years PAMS existed in theory, while it gained support and endorsement from senior representatives of organizations such as the IUCN South Africa, DEAT, WESSA and EWT. At the same time it was promoted and well received in publications and presentations at various workshops and symposiums. In 2007, the time came when theory was put into practice. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) agreed to implement PAMS in its Invasive Alien Species Programme with the idea that should it prove successful, it could be further expanded into other functions across the organization. With just over a year having gone by since its approval within EKZNW, it can now be said that with the implementation of PAMS, the Invasive Alien Species Programme is now outcomes focused, well co-ordinated, well implemented and making the best use of tax-payers money in order to ensure effective, efficient and transparent management of invasive alien species within EKZNW protected areas. The use of PAMS in this way showed that the system is very easily adapted, and in fact is ideally suited for conservation programmes of this nature (alien plant control programmes, wetland rehabilitation programmes, land-care initiatives, etc) and not only for the management of protected areas. PAMS could thus also be accurately referred to as a ‘Programmatic Audited Management System’.

Further good news is that 2008 will bring about the adoption of PAMS into the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Protection Corridor Project, which is an international conservation project linking the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania with the Niassa Game Reserve in Mozambique. Negotiations are also currently underway for the adoption of PAMS into another major Transfrontier Conservation Area initiative in Africa.

So, you are probably wondering what PAMS actually is, and what makes it so unique and effective. PAMS is based largely on the ISO14001 EMS approach and includes the same basic components, but contains some different emphases and specific requirements unique to conservation. In short, it contains essentially the same basic key components as does ISO14001, such as Planning, Implementation and Operation, Checking and Corrective Action and Management Review. Under each of these components there is a list of criteria that needs to be met or put in place. Thus by simply having all these criteria in place, it creates a management system that identifies risks and sets objectives to address the significant risks. It assists to clearly define roles and responsibilities, addresses conservation concerns, determines and promotes best practices, ensures competency at different levels, reduces liabilities, identifies gaps and ensures the measurement of implementation and outcomes of management actions through auditing and evaluation. Cumulatively, they provide the framework that drives continual improvement and ensures effective management.

Those of you who are familiar with ISO 14001 may be thinking, how does PAMS actually differ from ISO14001? Well, ISO was essentially developed for industries and thus ISO 14001 and its auditors have a very ‘brown’ environmental focus, and concern themselves with issues relating to energy consumption, waste management, oil & chemical spills, etc. ISO monitors things such as production inputs and outputs, and overall often results in a huge paper trail which arguably doesn’t always add as much value as it does workload. ISO is also inflexible in the sense that some requirements have to be met because of rigid global standards which demand mandatory conformance, regardless of their significance in the specific situation. Most importantly, ISO places little emphasis and provides little guidance on some biodiversity conservation issues. Conversely, PAMS is more simple, basic and its primary emphasis is on conservation issues. For example, issues such as veld condition, burning regimes, invasive alien species, erosion, and red data species need to be addressed and monitoring requirements again focus more on ‘green’ issues such as vegetation & animal monitoring, collection of weather data, Thresholds of Potential Concern/ Limits of Acceptable Change. Similarly, with issues relating to emergency preparedness, ISO 14001 focuses on issues like big spills and emissions while PAMS looks more at emergencies like uncontrollable veld fires, floods, erosion, the presence of highly invasive alien species and disease outbreaks. PAMS is flexible, and can cater for specific requirements, for example if something can be shown to not add real value it can be motivated and ‘exempted’ from the system in a given situation. PAMS can be simplified to suit the scale and capacity of individual organisations. So, as you can see, ISO 14001 was developed primarily with the concept for implementation in essentially transformed environments by people with a strong focus on ‘brown’ environmental experience and expertise (many of whom are from Europe and other developed countries), whereas PAMS was developed for ‘greenies’ in Africa by ‘greenies’ from Africa with many years of conservation and environmental experience.

So, where to from here? The medium to long term goals are to implement PAMS in numerous African protected areas and conservation programmes and thus we are actively seeking new areas and/or projects in which to implement the system. We have also discussed the establishment of a Protected Area Stewardship (PAS) Council, and have obtained in principle approval of this proposal from some of the leading conservation agencies in southern Africa, through which conservation authorities can attain certification of their protected areas. Thus, although the main objective of PAMS is to act as a tool to help and ensure effective management, the option of certification could also be obtained at a later stage. If required, this could include 3rd party certification of outsourced tourism and/or hunting agents against the relevant PAS standards.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:54 am 
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An extract from a 2005 Cleft Stick:

Human-Wildlife conflict in Mozambique

Many of us think of Mozambique with little wildlife left and no significant management issues. What is steadily becoming apparent is that we don’t know much about the distribution and numbers of game in the country and as people spread out and start new Machambas the incidents of human-wildlife conflict have escalated. So much so, that when people in some districts have been asked for their taxes they have suggested that these are paid by the elephants.

Some idea of the scale of the problem is that over a period of 18 months, between 2001 and 2002, lions killed 70 people in Cabo Delgado province.
Last year, it was only 15. Most of these were people out at night protecting their crops from elephant.

In terms of overall numbers, crocs are responsible for most deaths.
Many croc deaths are not reported, simply because of the logistics involved for many people in getting to a government office. A rough estimate would be around 300 people a year nationwide. Last year, in Mutarara district on the north bank of the Zambesi, 30 people were taken. Probably a similar number were taken on the south bank.

Elephant damage has not been quantified and there are no good figures for elephant numbers. What is evident is that there are resident elephant populations more than 100 km from the nearest protected area. The densities are low, but the area that they occupy is vaste and at conservative guess is that there are at least 25,000 in the country.

Although there are only about 150 elephant in the Limpopo National Park, there are already problems outside the park on the east bank of the Limpopo. The river is no barrier and irrigated maize in August is irresistible.

What is interesting is the size distribution of tusks of elephant shot on problem animal control. During the last year there were a number over 40 lbs a side and a couple over 70 lbs a side. This could be interpreted that the illegal hunting that has taken place has not been so heavy that it has depressed the average tusk weight. (A bull taken by a safari client in August this year had a single tusk weighing 115 lbs)

Buffalo present possibly the biggest threat to the economy of the country.
There is no fence between the Limpopo National Park and the communal areas and although there are very few buffalo in the park at present there are already serious problems.

This year 228 head of cattle have died from Theileriosis in the communal lands. The buffalo in Kruger have a high rate of Bovine tuberculosis infection and it may just be a question of time before the cattle bordering the park become infected.

So far there has been no outbreak of Foot & Mouth, but if Mozambique want to export unprocessed agricultural crops they will have to develop a buffalo policy similar to that in SA, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

It is very clear that the idea of not fencing the park will have to be reviewed if the park is to keep a positive relationship with the neighbouring communities.

What the next steps for the government will be are develop that land-use plans that include the sustainable utilization of wildlife where this makes economic sense and to increase the value of wildlife to communities.

In addition to this they will improve their capacity to manage wildlife conflict issues.

Also very encouraging was that during the assignment, I came across a couple of people who were adamant that they had found evidence of black rhino.

One involved a sighting of a cow and calf, the others were of spoor of single animals. It is hoped that some day the funds can be found to check these out and if they turn out to be fact, then to locate the animals into a secure area.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:24 pm 
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Another extract from a 2007 Cleft Stick:

Restoring a vast war-ravaged Angolan game reserve

A Durban man has been given the task of restoring a vast war-ravaged Angolan game reserve to its former glory. He told MYRTLE RYAN why he's undaunted

When Roland Goetz, the warden of the Quicama National Park in Angola, leaves the safety of his home turf he's a marked man.

Durban's Goetz, who was appointed to restore the 1m ha (10 000 sq. km.) park to its former glory, is hardly the most popular person with those who have reaped profits from poaching. His drive to stop them plying their trade has won him several enemies.

"I'm a thorn in their side, a marked man," said Goetz, mentioning that he always carried an AK47 and was accompanied by two field rangers whom he could trust. "Life is still very cheap."

Despite this, Goetz - a former Natal Parks Board ranger - said he regarded his job as challenging and worthwhile as it signified the reunification and growth of Angola.

He explained that before the war, Quicama was one of the top parks in Africa, teeming with elephant, roan, eland and red forest buffalo. The intention was to ensure it reclaimed this place.

During the war its close proximity to Luanda had proved to be its downfall. "They built a Cuban air base in the middle of the park, and they machine gunned the animals from helicopters," said Goetz.

Executive Outcomes, a group of South African mercenaries, also used the base for training Angolan government troops.

With peace, the government wanted to restore the park and through Executive Outcomes approached the School of Wildlife Management attached to the University of Pretoria in this regard.

The school's Prof. Wouter van Hoven flew to Angola in 1996 to do a survey. To cut a long story short, the Kissama Foundation was formed to fund the project, Goetz was appointed to his post, and Operation Noah's Ark' saw animals being brought into the country from South Africa and Botswana.

The park was rising like a phoenix from the ashes. To kick-start the reintroduction of the animals about 10 400 ha were fenced off behind 22 kms of fencing. "We flew in 30 elephants, four giraffe, eland, kudu, zebra etc. from Madikwe (game reserve) and the Tuli Block on Ilyushins," explained Goetz.

He compiled a park management report which will ultimately be used in five other national parks.

Speaking about the problems he has to deal with, he mentioned about 9 000 people live within the park, with many displaced persons from other countries living along the coastal areas.

"They grow cassava and maize as subsistence farmers and use slash and burn agriculture, which is a problem. Another is the availability of weapons," he said. People still shot migrating elephants and poached sea turtles, manatees, crocodiles and hippos. The bush meat trade was thriving, while cattle were brought illegally into the park to graze. "They (the herders) put up their own fences."

Habitat destruction and the cutting of mangroves was also a problem. "700 trees were felled and sold as building material in Luanda," said Goetz.

While animals in the northern part (close to Luanda) had been wiped out during the war, the southern area was relatively untouched. Giving some indication of the distances involved, Goetz said it took him five days to reach the southern part and return.

Giving some insight into what he's up against, Goetz spoke about the time when three of his staff - who had been dismissed for stealing fencing - had returned in the evening with 20 youngsters to demand money. Things turned ugly and for three days he remained barricaded with a loaded AK 47 within his house, having piled mattresses around his room as further protection.

Despite such hair-raising tales, and having had malaria four times, he remains upbeat and positive, saying he is slowly replacing his army staffers with people from the local community. He also sets great store by his second in command, Martin Pinto, who has been seconded from the Ministry of the Environment.

While those involved in nature conservation in South Africa might complain about lack of staff, Goetz has to make do with only 18 field rangers to cover 1m ha. In the beginning they had only one land rover.

However, he keeps one thing fixed firmly in his mind. "Not many conservationists have an opportunity to be involved in restoring a national park from scratch," said Goetz.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:29 pm 
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This extract also from 2007 may also interest a few:

Amendment bills shock for landowners and environmentalists

Environmentalists are gravely concerned about proposed legislative amendments before Parliament – by two government departments - they say will take away any control of landowners over their own land and also deny the public any participation in environmental impact assessments (EIAs).

If a key element in proposed amendments to legislation is accepted, hugely positive environmental gains made since the advent of democracy in 1994 could be reversed, the Botanical Society of SA has warned, and result in an effective blanket exemption from environmental authorisation being published for public comment.

Angela Andrews of the Legal Resources Centre has described the amendment proposed by the Minister of Environment and Tourism to chapter 5 of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations, 2006, as: “one of the worst pieces of legislation I have seen in a long time.”

“It completely undermines the whole system of environmental impact assessment legislation and leaves it in the hands of officials to exercise discretion as to whether they will apply NEMA section 23 and 24 at all. No guidance is given as to how to exercise this discretion and no provision is made for public participation.”

Of particular concern to land owners, is the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) introduction on 9 May 2007 to Parliament of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Amendment Bill (MPRDA). If passed, it will effectively give anyone the ability to apply for a prospecting or mining licence on your land without even having to inform you.

Download a copy of the bill from Download a copy of the Bill

The Bill inserts into the MPRDA a new section 39 entitled ‘Environmental Authorisations’ as well as several new definitions of terms used in NEMA EIA procedures (e.g. ‘basic assessment report’). Applicants for various mining authorisations will in future need to apply for an environmental authorisation. However, these environmental authorisations will not be issued by the provincial or national organs of state responsible for the environment in accordance with the NEMA EIA regulations, but by the DME, in accordance with regulations made under the MPRDA and after considering comments from State departments responsible for administering environmental laws.

The environmental justice group groundWork stated in its submission on this bill that “it is clear from the experience of people and as witnessed by groundWork that peoples’ land is still in the present dispensation being taken away from them in order that mining operations can take place.”

“The consultation in terms of section 4(c) calling upon ‘notifying and consulting with the land owner or lawful occupier of the land in question’ is critical to enable people to secure their rights. Changing this to the present formulation of ‘giving the land owner or lawful occupier of the land in question at least 21 days written notice’ allows for companies and government to act unilaterally in confiscating peoples’ land and therefore their livelihoods. groundWork opposes such a change and believes that the original phrasing should be maintained.”

June 4 was the closing date for comments on Environmental Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk EIA amendments. The amendments seek to provide decision-makers with greater flexibility when considering applications for environmental authorisations. It is particularly concerning to note that the amendments are designed to allow the authorities to grant exemption from not only the EIA Regulations, 2006 but also from provisions of the Act that deal with environmental authorisations.

The legislation does not give guidance on the criteria to be applied in deciding whether or not to grant an exemption. The proposed amendments to the EIA Regulations, 2006, also do away with the need to obtain the landowners consent where a third party intends to undertake a listed activity on that owner's land. And, they attempt to streamline the number of activities that may require basic assessment or scoping and EIA.

According to environmental law specialists Winstanley and Cullinan, while the attempts to refine and streamline the EIA process is welcome, there is a real danger that the largely unfettered powers of exemption will create a major loophole through which inappropriate and unsustainable development projects will slip.

“It seems that not only the DME, but also the DEAT who is supposed to protect the environment, are creating inappropriate loopholes with the kind of flexibility that, if given to government organizations verges on dictatorship - stripping people of their rights to participatory governance,” said a statement from the environmental group Earthlife Africa.

“Are South Africans aware that these proposed amendments will do away with their rights as landowners since landowners' consent is not required where a third party intends to undertake a listed activity on that owner's land?”

The statement added that it was also shocking to learn that the government has delayed between two and three years in producing very important strategic planning reports: the National Environmental Outlook (formerly the State of Environment Report) and the National Framework for Sustainable Development (formerly the National Strategy for Sustainable Development).

Despite lobbying from six large environmental groups (the Endangered Wildlife Trust, BirdLife South Africa, Botanical Society of SA, Wilderness Foundation South Africa, Wildlife and Environment Society of SA and WWF South Africa) government has not yet released these reports that could have huge significance in relation to planning and use of South Africa's natural resources.

“Does the government assume that these resources are infinite?” asked the Earthlife Africa statement. “The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism needs to speak up on behalf of the natural resources of South Africa as a protector - not allow this nation to be plundered by foreign industries and left destitute.”

The NGOs have called on government to release the reports as these studies represent independent, objective reviews of the opportunities and constraints to development, based on the country’s natural resource base, reports the Sunday Tribune.

In the absence of these reports, plans are being made which assume our natural resources are infinite. The lack of access to information contained in the two reports often inhibited NGOs and officials from the DEAT from achieving their reasonable goals. The NGOs also demanded reasons for the delay, a time frame and written commitment for the release of the reports.

The department has responded by saying the sustainable development framework will be publicly released after a final set of stakeholder consultations, probably by end of July, and the outlook report by the end of June.

Both these departments are actively involved in the government’s R150bn nuclear plan for 36 Nuclear Pebble Bed Modular Reactors plus another 10 to 15 conventional nuclear reactors countrywide, as well as a large scale resurgence of uranium mining.

This Information Brought to you by www.environment.co.za

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:31 pm 
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and some more from 2007:

US Animal Rights Groups are Destroying Kenya’s Wildlife

Dr. Laurence Frank, from the University of California, Berkeley and the Wildlife Conservation Society, has studied predators in Kenya for 37 years. He runs the Living With Lions project, working on lion conservation outside of national parks. He is not a big game hunter.

Once internationally famous for its magnificent wildlife, Kenya is in a conservation crisis, due largely to the cynical and corrupt influence of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the US Humane Society and other animal rights groups which spend millions to prevent rational conservation policies that would benefit both wildlife and impoverished rural Africans.

Seventy percent of Kenya’s wildlife has died in the last thirty years, strangled slowly in snares and sold as cheap, unidentified meat. Even animals in national parks are in serious decline due to poaching and habitat destruction on their boundaries. Lions are being speared and poisoned into extinction.

In that same period, South Africa and Namibia saw an immense increase in wildlife numbers, as over ten thousand ranches found that wildlife for trophy hunting is more profitable than cattle. Wildlife in Zimbabwe quadrupled with the growth of hunting on large conservancies, until Mugabe’s ‘land reform’ resulted in most of it being snared. Wildlife continues to flourish in Tanzania, Botswana, and Zambia, where hunting contributes significantly to national economies.

Sentimental love of animals is a luxury affordable by comfortable westerners, but meaningless to the world’s poor and hungry. With ever-increasing human numbers, wildlife in Africa is doomed unless it produces income for rural people. That is not possible in Kenya because retrogressive policies, bought by tragically naive American animal lovers, ensure that rural people resent wildlife instead of profiting from it.

For rural Kenyans, wildlife is an unmitigated nuisance: lions kill precious livestock, wildebeest and zebra compete with cattle for grazing, elephants and buffalo destroy crops and occasionally kill people. While tourism brings wealth to hotels and tour companies, virtually nothing reaches the rural people who bear the costs of living with wildlife. Telling a Masai herdsman that he should cherish wildlife is like telling an urban American that he should cherish muggers and murderers.

Although unpalatable to many urban westerners, carefully regulated trophy hunting is the one avenue through which wildlife can bring serious money to rural Africans. Foreigners pay over two hundred million dollars for hunting safaris elsewhere in Africa, taking old males with impressive horns, tusks or manes, animals that are no longer of importance to the population (as any man my age knows all too well). In North America, Europe, and southern Africa, carefully managed hunting has greatly increased wildlife populations because people value them.

Tanzania has set aside over 100,000 square miles of wilderness for hunting. It has more wildlife than any country in Africa, and half the world’s remaining lions. In Botswana, a very few male lions are shot every year, earning $65,000 each for the rural community in which the lion was taken, and half that amount for the national conservation agency. The community profit would pay for 350 cattle taken by lions, or support teachers, nurses or wildlife rangers. Lions and all the associated wildlife are a source of income, to be valued and protected.

In Kenya, that lion is only a cattle-killing nuisance, to be poisoned and left to rot in the sun. A rural community would earn far more from a single old male impala shot as a trophy than a poacher earns from snaring an entire breeding herd of females and young for bushmeat.

Kenya shut down legal hunting in 1977, when the world was outraged by hunters’ reports of industrial scale poaching of elephants for ivory, abetted by high government officials. The ban silenced the hunters and the elephant slaughter continued. In the absence of the hunters’ anti-poaching patrols, bushmeat snaring exploded. Vast regions of this country that teemed with large mammals thirty years ago are now barren of any animal bigger than a rabbit.

In spite of plummeting wildlife numbers, that failed policy has been maintained by foreign animal rights groups. Whenever real conservationists try to reform Kenyan policy to reverse the decline in wildlife, these groups launch disinformation campaigns in the local press, relying on racial resentment combined with outright fabrication: “Rich white foreigners want to kill all the animals in our national parks; only rich whites will profit from hunting”. They hire mobs to disrupt public policy meetings and fill the press with nonsensical claims that hunters would indiscriminately slaughter all game.

It is widely believed that these groups rely heavily on bribery, spending huge sums to buy sympathetic media coverage for their propaganda, and to buy influence at the highest levels of government. In a young democracy struggling against entrenched corruption, large scale bribery by westerners is stunningly irresponsible.

Worst of all, these ideologues apparently do not seem to care that millions of animals die wretchedly in snares, so long as none are shot for profit. They boast to their American supporters that their donations prevent hunting in Kenya, never telling them that, as a result, there is little wildlife left, either.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:33 pm 
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and even some more truths from 2007:

The Real Inconvenient Truth

By Randy Alcorn

Al Gore’s Academy Award winning slide show demonstrating the current and ongoing threat to the Earth’s ecosystem from global warming argues the case that manmade pollution is the cause of impending global disaster. Gore presents his alarming data as an “Inconvenient Truth.” And, if indeed, as the majority of scientists agree, global warming is the cataclysmic consequence of human consumptive activity, why does Gore’s documentary devote so little attention to the most obvious and prominent truth of all, that the prolific growth in human population is the ultimate root cause of all the ecological horrors he exposes and predicts?

As with so many Cassandras of ecological doom, Gore hardly mentions human population growth, even though it is the fundamental factor in the equation of ecological disaster. Rather, he prescribes the usual remedies of individual life style sacrifices like driving less, using less energy and water---living smaller. While this prescription is a prudent and responsible one for humans to swallow, it will not provide the ultimate global cure if human population growth is not reversed.

The equation of ecological destruction and human population growth is one of simple math. No matter how clever and inventive human technology can be, it will be overwhelmed by the explosive multiplication of unrelenting population growth. There is only so much land, water, and air. Those whose faith that yet-to-be invented technology will provide humanity’s salvation from the calamities of irresponsible over breeding are no more rational than those whose faith that yet-to-be seen deities will save mankind from its population predicament.

When it comes to human population, most of the ecological community along with most governments continue to pursue policies of accommodation rather than remediation there are dozens of organizations dedicated to saving animals, or forests, or rivers, or oceans, or birds, bats, and barn-owls, but only a handful that attack the root cause of the threat to all of these pet preservations---human population. Government planners, meanwhile, strategize mass transit, or build freeways on top of freeways, squeeze more housing onto less land, and convert seawater into drinking water.

As the pressures of population congestion translate into more crime and human despair, governments impose ever more laws and regulations on the population---an insidiously unrelenting process that erodes individual freedom and assaults institutions of democracy. Any democracy, even a representative democracy like America’s may ultimately succumb to the weight of its burgeoning population.

While Al Gore and other environmentalists call for substantial reductions in carbon emissions over the next couple of decades, they shy away form emphasizing the population factor in their calculations for salvation. Few of them are calling with equal emphasis for the substantial reduction in the growth of human population.

Even if the earth’s current human population of 6.6 billion were able to reduce its emissions of pernicious effluvia by 50 percent during the next forty years, at current rates of population growth the Earth will suffer an increase of yet another 3 billion people---a 50 percent increase---over the same 40 year period. The net effect on saving the planet amounts to zero.

The population of the United States, by far the most voracious consumers and the greatest producers of greenhouse gases per capita of any nation on Earth, has been doubling every 40 years and is headed for one billion before the end of this century. This injurious increase in population level is due almost entirely to unbridled foreign immigration mostly from nations whose populations have exceeded their resources and whose cultures, religions, and lack of education promote continued population growth.

Meanwhile the two most populous nations on earth, China and India, are rapidly industrializing and have the potential to consume more resources and produce more pollution than the smaller populations of the U.S. and Europe combined.

Calls for continued reductions in resource use and for restrictions in life-style choices in the face of unmitigated population growth is a tail-chasing strategy that leaves any clear-headed thinker dizzy. Even if the heroic efforts of human technology succeeded in squeezing more resources from a finite planet with which to sustain a human population of 9 billion or more, what is the point? Unless the growth of human population can be stopped and even reversed, all solutions, technological or otherwise, are ephemeral and ultimately futile. Humanity will be in constant crisis mode trying to sustain its burgeoning numbers until the inevitable correction is imposed by Nature. This is the real and most significant “inconvenient truth” that needs to be confronted by all of humanity.

Al gore’s list of “ten things to do” to help stop global warming does not include a single word about reducing population growth. With all the publicity and media coverage his film documentary has received, what a missed opportunity to educate his audience about the crucial factor in reducing global warming. The inconvenient truth is that human population has exceeded the healthy carrying capacity of the planet.

While it may be beneficial to replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent light bulbs, it would be more effective towards salvaging the planet to turn on light bulbs in minds darkened by political expediency and religious dogma. Those who surrender reason to religious and political doctrine and push the rubble of their misguided convictions into the path of prudent population reduction policies are complicit in condemning an entire planet to doom.

Rather than everyone on Earth sinking into a third world lifestyle of deprivation and rationing, and disease ridden overcrowding, it makes far more sense to limit our numbers so that all people can spend their time on earth living in dignity, freedom and comfort.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:37 pm 
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and still some more, not much different from the Mapungubwe situation:

Lake Natron Update - 16th July 2007Dear Colleagues,

This is a regular update to like minded people to raise awareness on the proposed construction of a soda ash plant by Tata Chemicals Ltd at Lake Natron in Tanzania. The lake is the only significant breeding site for lesser flamingos in Eastern Africa. This plant could seriously affect the breeding of this near threatened species thus wiping out 75% of the population of the global population. The livelihoods of the local communities that depend on the surrounding rangelands are also threatened.

I have taken the liberty to put you on this mailing list because I thought that we should work together to ensure that the integrity of this vital lake and the livelihoods of the communities that depend on the area are safeguarded. I hope this is ok.

Please find yesterday’s (16th July 2007) update:

--- Today’s update is a bit lengthy as it includes information from the Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania(TZ), workshop but it has crucial information so please read on….

1. The Kenyan team of three (Hadley Becha, Peter Odhiambo and Ole Petenya Yusuf-Shani) is back from the Dar workshop. Their trip was kindly funded by East African Wildlife Society and IUCN – Regional Office for Eastern African. Here is the brief:

a) About 40 participants attended the workshop representing various institutions including IUCN, WWF, WWT, WCST, Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT), Ramsar Secretariat and Tanzania Government officials. Tata Chemicals Ltd was represented by two high level officials. It was not made clear how the participants were selected.

b) In the morning session, Norconsult gave a presentation of the proposed project and presented summary findings of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) document. In the afternoon, the participants were given a chance to react to the presentation

c) It emerged that the document presented was not an ESIA since it was lacking in critical details such as project alternatives and mitigation measures for the identified impacts. The proponent accepted that Flamingos were going to be affected significantly but they did not provide any mitigation measures except “avoiding the nesting areas”. Other details such as hydrological data (which is critical in a water scarce area like Natron) were missing. In addition, issues such as land tenure system in the project site and the mode of transporting the end product were not articulated. The transport mode would depend on decisions to be made by the government of TZ hence providing a blank cheque for this activity.

d) It became clear that the process of the ESIA was not consultative since it ignored inputs from outside the republic of TZ. The fact that international conventions were not considered was noted. Moreover, that the existing protocols for EIA and Strategic Environmental Assessment under the East African Community were ignored was a major omission – Norconsult, the EIA consultants for Tata Chemicals were not even aware of these protocols!

e) The fact that there is no management plan (MP) for the Ramsar site was highlighted. The TZ government officials could not confirm the stage of MP preparation process. It was clear that this project was being proposed in the absence of a guiding framework; a management plan. This contravenes the Ramsar Convention of which TZ is a signatory. Also, the Government of Tanzania did not inform the Ramsar Secretariat about the soda ash plant proposal.

f) At the end of the workshop, the participants insisted that a more comprehensive consultative process must be undertaken. This time round, it should not be limited to inviting the concerned and interested institutions to a workshop but an open debate and dialogue over issues must be facilitated. Information must be fully disclosed and all the necessary data provided. However, a management plan for the Ramsar site must first be developed. Norconsult indicated willingness to consult more stakeholders but also expressed urgency in terms of meeting certain deadlines imposed by the proponent – the document is still open for comments until 27th July. However, it is not clear what they will do with it after 27th.

2. The implications of the workshop outcome to our campaign is: ALUTA CONTINUA. There is apparent political pressure within TZ to ensure that the project commences as soon as possible. This is why we can’t relent. Our next steps will be:

a) To continue engaging the Kenyan government authorities to prompt them to engage their TZ counterparts

b) Continue with our ongoing public awareness on this issue, especially in TZ. We are in touch with Lawyers Environmental Action Team and Journalists for Environment in doing this.

c) Engage the Environment Committee of the EAC secretariat and provide them with the necessary information

d) Initiate an online petition to be presented to the Government of TZ and Tata Chemicals Ltd. The thrust of this will be to demand that the consultative process be comprehensive and that the international conventions and protocols be respected.

e) Bring on board more institutions in the region, including those from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, Sudan, Yemen, and Sudan should also be consulted. We will maintain regular communication with our Friends in Europe, Americas and Asia.

3. Last week, the Kenyan press highlighted the threat to Lake Natron. On 12th July, there was an advert on Page 19 of Daily Nation and a feature article on page 14 of The People. The same evening the issue was highlighted on NTV. The previous week Business Daily carried an article in the ‘company and business page 8. All these articles are attached.

4. A number of papers in Europe ran stories on the threat to Lake Natron.
These include The Independent (http://environment.independent.co.uk/wi ... 758826.ece), The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.j ... /eaflam112 .xml); The Guardian (http://environment.guardian.co.uk/conse ... 51,00.html); The BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6292434.stm and The Scotsman (http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1083162007). I might be able to share some of these stories later.

5. We have received inquiries from The Telegraph of India, Greenpeace (India) and Prof Agoramoorthy in Taiwan on Lake Natron. Greenpeace is willing to join hands with us as they have issues with other Tata projects in India. The Telegraph would like to ran a story from the Tata perspective. Prof Agoramoorthy is willing to highlight the issue in his country and region.

6. We need Ksh 125,000 (US $ 1,925) to pay for a half page advert in one of the regional newspapers in order to maintain this tempo. We request any institutions or individuals willing to contribute towards this to get in touch with me or Peter Odhiambo at (podhiambo@eawildlife.org)

7. Starting today, we shall use this new email address dedicated to this campaign; it is lakenatron@acc.or.ke. If you see updates from this address please do not delete. This will streamline our communication.

That’s quite a chunk for now, more tomorrow.

Thanks all for your immense support.

Ken Mwathe (Secretariat), For: Lake Natron Consultative Group

You are invited to join Lake Natron Consultative Group. The following Institutions are spearheading efforts to ensure that the Integrity of Lake Natron and the Cross Border Ecosystem is Maintained:

1. East African Wildlife Society
2. African Conservation Centre (ACC)
3. Nature Kenya
4. Youth For Conservation,
5. South Rift Association of Landowners (SORALO),
6. Kenya Wetlands Forum (KWF)
7. Centre for Minority Rights for Development (CEMIRIDE),
8. Kenya Community based Tourism Network (KECOBAT),
9. Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI),
10. Centre for Education and research in Environmental Law(CREEL)
11. Wildlife Clubs of Kenya (WCK)
12. Ethiopia Wildlife Natural History Society (EWNHS)

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:40 pm 
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Still more from 2007:

Zimbabwe has declared open season

HSUS/Kathy Milani
By Bernard Unti

As famine looms for millions of his poorer citizens, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has declared open season on one of his nation¹s greatest treasures characterized his whole career, Mugabe has ordered rangers at Zimbabwe¹s National Parks to cooperate with rural authorities in the wholesale killing of wild animals, including elephants.

The expressed goal of the political strongman who has dominated Zimbabwe since it gained political independence in 1980? To feed a hungry rural constituency whose support ensured him a majority of seats in Zimbabwe¹s March 2005 parliamentary elections.

An indeterminate number of wild animals were killed by authorities during the run up to the March elections, with at least ten elephants barbecued as part of the March 18 celebrations commemorating the 25th anniversary of Zimbabwe¹s independence. Four of the elephants were shot by park rangers, reportedly in the presence of tourists near the Matusadona National Park bordering Lake Kariba. The others were killed by a farmer at the request of a local rural council in the Urungwe Safari Area bordering the Mana Pools National Park.

Rangers killing elephants is nothing new. They¹ve been shooting a limited number of these animals for years in an attempt to minimize human-wildlife conflicts on the borders of Zimbabwe¹s parks, but in the wake of Mugabe¹s order, these actions have taken on an ominous cast to many observers. Specifically, Mugabe¹s Operation Nyama, or ³Operation Meat,² which kills elephants to provide meat for starving villagers, has come under fire for being nothing more than a front for illegal ivory poaching.

The Politics of Famine
This latest threat to Zimbabwe¹s wildlife is inextricably tied to the politics of food. Notoriously scornful of western nations, Mugabe has rejected international offers of food aid and denied the claims of his political opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), that Zimbabwe cannot meet the challenge of its food shortage without help. The MDC has urged the government to seek international assistance.

A recent communiqu&rom the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) confirms Zimbabwe¹s dire condition. The agency issued an emergency alert on May 2 saying that Zimbabwe¹s summer grain harvest will not satisfy the food needs of its residents. The country¹s population exceeds 12 million, of whom an estimated four million rural poor are affected by food shortages. Mugabe has acknowledged that Zimbabwe faces a threat of famine, and has sworn that he will not let his people go hungry. During the March elections Mugabe essentially campaigned on a Vote for Us or Starve platform. But Mugabe faces many crises at the moment: Once the engine of a promising postcolonial state, Zimbabwe¹s economy is in free fall, with high unemployment, hyperinflation, and shrinking capital investment. The country also faces water, electricity, and fuel shortages, and an accelerating crime rate.

Given all the country¹s problems U. S. Congress recently questioned whether the international community¹s policy of isolating Mugabe¹s government was the right approach. Members of Congress instead called for a concerted effort at strategic engagement, with the United States and members of the African Union, especially South Africa, pressing Mugabe to reform.

Responding to Mugabe's proposal, Andrew Rowan, executive vice president for operations for The HSUS, sent a letter on May 2 asking that Zimbabwe reconsider its position on accepting food relief from international agencies. Rowan's letter to Mugabe pointed out that outside assistance would help Zimbabwe's people and its animals, preventing further damage to the nation's wildlife sector and setting the stage for Zimbabwe's future as a premiere venue for wildlife-related tourism.

Land Redistribution
Even before Mugabe¹s latest decree, Zimbabwe¹s wildlife was in serious peril, especially from the controversial land redistribution program sponsored by his government.

In 2000, Mugabe ordered the confiscation of white-owned farms for redistribution to peasants and political supporters. This marked the culmination of two decades of battles over land policy that pitted Mugabe against white farmers, political opponents, and the United Kingdom, which as a colonial power once governed the nation formerly called Rhodesia.

With Mugabe¹s encouragement, thousands of black Zimbabweans invaded the nation¹s farms. The destruction that ensued caused white farmers to flee, crippled the economy, and ushered in widespread commodity shortages, as the commercial farming sector, once an important source of exports and jobs, was devastated.

The presumed beneficiaries of land redistribution did not fare very well, either. With poor soil quality and low rainfall, many of the subdivided properties proved too barren to sustain crops. Thus, thousands of Zimbabweans turned to poaching as a source of food and income, trapping animals for their own sustenance as well as for an expanding market in bush meat.

The new settlers were indiscriminate in their killing of animals, but their main targets were antelopes (kudu and impala), buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, leopards, wildebeests, and zebras.

The Spread of Disease
Hunting and wildlife-related tourism were once the source of millions of dollars annually for Zimbabwe¹s economy; millions of acres of lands too arid or rocky for farming could sustain wildlife, and proved well-suited for photographic and shooting safaris. Despite his promise that the compulsory acquisition of white-owned lands would be limited to agricultural farms, it was not long before private reserves and conservancies were under siege. Mugabe loyalists, politicians, police officials, the landless poor and other parties participated in a virtual invasion of private and state-owned conservation areas, killing animals for their meat and skins.

By burning grazing lands and chopping down trees along the way, the mostly impoverished legions decimated Zimbabwe¹s natural environment, even as they took a fatal toll on their nation¹s wild animal population. After all, the indigenous savannah woodland that characterized many ranches and conservancies provided suitable habitat for many rare species, including African wild dogs, cheetah, black rhino, and roan and sable antelope.

While these game ranches were never perfectly ³safe² for animals, they were at least guarded by scouts, and animals enjoyed relative safety when not within the sights of a trophy hunter¹s rifle. What¹s more, during the 1990s, such ventures enjoyed a measure of protection from the Mugabe regime, which viewed them as a reliable revenue source.

Making matters worse, once the land invasions began, trophy hunters, biltong hunters, and illegal safari operators from South Africa and elsewhere took advantage of Zimbabwe¹s unstable circumstances, bribing their way into conservation areas at a pittance, to shoot cheetahs, elephants, leopards, lions, and other animals.

Food or Trophies?
By some estimates, the combined effect of the lawlessness and disorder of the last few years has been the loss of 80% of the wild animals in Zimbabwe¹s wildlife conservancies and game farms animals in its national parks. The grim toll has shaken wildlife protection advocates. Until the mid-1990s, the relative abundance of certain species in Zimbabwe had given advocates hope that Zimbabwe could become a haven for wildlife.

Until 2000, for example, Zimbabwe had the world¹s single largest concentration of black rhinos, approximately 500 in number, having recovered from a critical two-decade decline. But in 2004, Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force estimated that only 200 rhinos remained. The slaughtered rhinos¹ horns, hacked off by poachers and others, are highly valued in East Asia, where they can bring up to $90,000.

Elephants, too, had been thriving in Zimbabwe until the recent turmoil. In 2001, the Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wildlife, together with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), placed the number of elephants within the country at 84,000 justify their ongoing efforts to cull elephants or ease trade restrictions. For example, in 1999, amidst bitter international controversy, Zimbabwe received permission from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to sell ivory to Japan on a limited and strictly monitored basis.

Mugabe's latest plan, Operation Nyama, may be even more controversial. Some believe that the campaign to provide elephant meat to starving villagers in northern Matabeleland is providing cover for an officially sanctioned poaching ring that moves ivory out of Zimbabwe and into illicit markets. Operation Nyama was to have ended in December, but in early March, it was reportedly still going strong.

Zimbabwe already has huge stockpiles of ivory, an estimated 24,000 kilograms. Worldwide demand, were it not hampered by the CITES prohibition and steady political pressure to maintain the ban, would make ivory a ready source of foreign exchange revenue for Zimbabwe were the international markets to open up.

The Wisdom of Elephants
In December 2003, British journalist Michael Durham published a story in The Guardian about elephant ³refugees² who fled Zimbabwe by wading across the Zambezi River into Zambia to avoid being killed by poachers, marauders, and illegal trophy hunters. The elephants¹ movement seemed to exceed normal rates of seasonal migration and a Zambian game warden told Durham that it was not a coincidence. Elephants are quite intelligent and can communicate. They know they are safer on this side of the river.

The wisdom of elephants notwithstanding, it won¹t be possible for the majority of Zimbabwe¹s wildlife to evade the long shadow cast by President Mugabe. Should Mugabe¹s orders take hold, Zimbabwe¹s national parks, where wildlife losses have not been as high as those on game farms and conservancies, will be in trouble. Dispatching armed rangers into parks with orders to kill animals for their meat would provide no real answer to Zimbabwe¹s food crisis or its other problems. It would be a disaster and should it occur, treasures such as Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe¹s largest park and one of Africa¹s outstanding havens for wild animals, will become nothing less than hollowed-out monuments of a nation¹s political, social, and ecological collapse.

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Done 144 visits to National Parks.
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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:45 pm 
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more from 2007:

Africa: Game Parks Offering Protection in Name Only?

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg), 8 September 2007, Posted to the web 9 September 2007 Stephen Leahy, Brooklin, Canada

The sharp decline of Africa's abundant wildlife is now happening inside the continent's protected areas, a new analysis indicates.

Africa's world renowned parks are destined to become isolated pockets of wilderness with few large animals left, as is the case in Europe, conclude the authors of an article in the current edition of the 'African Journal of Ecology'.

"It is not a pleasant conclusion," said Paul Scholte, co-author of the article, and a researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

"Where we have good data, there are dramatic declines in wildlife inside parks and protected areas," he told IPS. "It was a shock. The declines are far worse than we expected."

The steep population decrease for large numbers of mammals outside of parks and game reserves in the past 15 years has been well documented. Illegal hunting, the bushmeat trade, and expansion of agriculture and urban settlements are the main causes of this trend.

However, a continent-wide overview of the status of wildlife in Africa's vast protected areas didn't exist until the analysis done by Scholte and co-author Tim Caro of the University of California and the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute in Arusha, northern Tanzania.

According to the official declaration of the 2003 World Parks Congress, held in the South African port city of Durban, Africa is home to more than 1,200 protected areas which cover upwards of two million square kilometres, some nine percent of the continent's total land area.

Scholte and Caro combined the available data from all parks and reserves, and were able to use new statistical methods that can help make sense of information from disparate sources. These included a 40-year collection of monthly wildlife census reports by park guards in six Ghanaian national parks, and decade long collections of aerial censuses done over huge wildlife areas in Kenya and Tanzania.

Details on antelope populations turned out to be the most measured and consistent sets of data throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

"What new data shows, however, is even relatively well-organised protected areas cannot be relied on as long-lasting conservation tools, at least for antelopes and their predators," Scholte and Caro conclude in their paper.

While he has called for studies on other mammal populations, Scholte believes these findings are indicative of what is happening to most mammals in Africa's parks. The rise in elephant numbers in Eastern and Southern African reserves is one of the few exceptions to this trend.

Rampant bushmeat hunting is largely behind declines in Katavi National Park in Tanzania, the Ipassa Man and Biosphere Reserve in Gabon, and Comoe'National Park of Coàte d'Ivoire. In West and Central Africa, this form of hunting is often the most common factor in the pressure being brought to bear on antelope populations, the study notes.

Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve has seen populations of herbivores ranging from buffalo to giraffe to wildebeest crash. Drought, poaching and increased wheat farm acreage in surrounding areas account for this decline: since Kenya established its world famous parks, the country's human population has increased four times.

Every 20 years, Africa's human population doubles, Scholte said. That puts enormous pressure on wildlife in terms of competition for land, water and food resources.

In South Africa's Kruger National Park, the situation is somewhat different. Here, dry weather, not human activity, is behind the decline in antelopes and other herbivores.

Unforeseen consequences of management interventions within parks constitute another factor in the declines, says Norman Owen-Smith of the Centre for African Ecology at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa's commercial hub -- Johannesburg.

"This does not mean that parks cannot succeed, but rather that they need to be made larger to buffer against human influences and climatic variability," he observed in an e-mail interview.

Conservation successes in parks like South Africa's Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park are largely due to high intensity patrolling against illegal hunting, Owen-Smith added.

Although many of Africa's parks are in fairly dire straits, there are a few that give cause for optimism, said Grant Hopcraft: a researcher for the Frankfurt Zoological Society of Germany who is based in Arusha.

"(There) are shining examples of good conservation, Serengeti being one, that perhaps could be used as models," he wrote in an e-mail message. "Undoubtedly the continent wide situation is very serious, but I dread to think it is irreversible."

Notes James Deutsch, director of the Africa Programme at the Wildlife Conservation Society, a U.S-based group working in 54 countries, "There are substantial conservation successes in East and Southern Africa, although major threats and challenges remain."

The most successful parks are those with the strongest tourism business and where the local community directly benefits from the tourism, he adds. "It's disastrous (for wildlife) outside of the protected areas."

With little industrialisation, many of Africa's 700 plus million people live off the land, where much of the soil is poor and water scarce, Deutsch explains: "Successful and sustainable development is the key to long-term conservation of Africa's wildlife."

However, African parks have a tiny fraction of the budget of their European counterparts, according to Scholte, and the continent as a whole less than 10 per cent of what it needs to operate and protect its parks.

"If the international community increased funding by 10 times then there is hope. But I don't think that's realistic," he said.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
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Done 144 visits to National Parks.
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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:36 am 
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WORLD RANGER DAY.


30th July 2010

Media Release

Embargo: For immediate release.

WORLD RANGER DAY, 31ST OF JULY 2010: GRAA CALLS ON GREATER SUPPORT AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FOR AFRICA’S RANGERS.

In commemoration of World Ranger Day on the 31st of July 2010, the Game Rangers Association of Africa has called for greater support and acknowledgment of the valuable role of Rangers in the conservation of wildlife and protected areas on the African continent. “The general public feels very strongly about current conservation issues such as the rising tide of rhino poaching incidents in southern Africa, but seldom spare a thought for the brave men and women fighting at the forefront to try and curb this and other threats to our wildlife and protected areas across Africa” says GRAA Chairman, André Botha.

World Ranger Day was first observed in 2007, on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the International Ranger Federation (IRF) and is promoted by the 54 member associations of the IRF, the Thin Green Line Foundation and by individuals who support the ethos and work of rangers worldwide.

Although African governments often refer to the environment and tourism as a major new focal area on which to build their economies, very little resources are allocated to the proper management and care of these resources or the people who look after them. Conservationists and rangers across Africa often struggle with challenges such as poor or irregular remuneration, lack of appropriate training and suitable equipment and often lack sufficient support from senior management of conservation bodies and/or political leaders responsible for environmental affairs.

An example of this is the situation in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where more than 150 rangers have been killed by poachers and other militia over the last 5 years in trying to protect the Park’s endangered highland Gorilla, hippopotami and other wildlife from being eradicated, either for financial gain or to be used as food for warring faction troops. Many other rangers live and work under extremely difficult circumstances elsewhere on the continent, often for very little remuneration and compensation.

Further south, the very existence of certain protected areas, and by implication also the jobs and livelihoods of many rangers, guides and other staff working therein, seem to be under threat as activities such as mining, industrialization and the over-exploitation of natural resources in neighbouring areas seem to place growing on pressure on areas such as the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site, Ndumo Game Reserve ad Songimvelo Nature Reserve in South Africa.

The Game Rangers Association of Africa would therefore like to urge conservation bodies and government to provide appropriate support, training and acknowledgement to rangers and other conservation staff throughout the continent as these men and women are the custodians of Africa’s biodiversity not just on behalf of single communities, countries or even the continent alone, but fulfil their calling on behalf of the global community.

Ends

Enquiries:

André Botha
Chairman
Game Rangers Association of Africa
Mobile +27(0) 82 962 5725
E-mail: andreb@ewt.org.za

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:18 pm 
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Geez Mate.

I must congratulate you on yet another well thought through and well written piece of history. :clap: :clap: :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: THE GAME RANGERS ASSOCIATION OF AFRICA
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 6:26 pm 
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Thanks - let us all share what we enjoy and care for.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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