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Media Release: SANParks draws inspiration on Earth Day from leadership of Chief Executive

Date: 2010-04-22

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The world celebrates the 40th Earth Day today, 22 April 2010, to highlight the constantly deteriorating condition of the environment and to educate the citizens of the world about how every individual can make a difference.

The world celebrates the 40th Earth Day today, 22 April 2010, to highlight the constantly deteriorating condition of the environment and to educate the citizens of the world about how every individual can make a difference. Climate change, waste and recycling, water conservation, energy use, conservation and biodiversity are the major themes for Earth Day, including education and advocacy around these topics.

South African National Parks (SANParks), being a premier conservation agency in South Africa has always been committed towards combating climate change and the loss of biodiversity, and education around conservation – all of which are goals for the Earth Day campaign. The organisation follows on the example and leadership of the Chief Executive, Dr David Mabunda, who took the reins of SANParks and guided it through a difficult transformation period in this country and grew its ideals and commitment towards developing and managing a system of national parks that represents the biodiversity, landscapes, and associated heritage assets of South Africa for the sustainable use and benefit of all.

SANParks has enjoyed a proud moment in the run up to Earth Day 2010 with the Chief Executive being awarded the University of the Witwatersrand Gold Award for Prestigious Service to Society a week ago. Dr Mabunda was selected for this award because of the “intellectual, political and practical leadership” he has displayed since being at the helm of this important South African asset – the National Parks.

In his acceptance address, Dr Mabunda highlighted the “daunting future” faced by our nation and national parks due to climate change, pollution which is adding to disease and health problems, degradation of archaeological and historical sites, animal poaching, dwindling state funding, and many other factors, all of which are driven by human activity.

Dr Mabunda re-iterated the commitment of SANParks to widely promoting environmental education beyond the borders of national parks. “We are committed to building a citizenry that takes responsibility and pride in creating and enhancing the health of its environment,” he said.

“Our national parks are not just ecological geographical landscapes or playgrounds for the elite but an important part of our proudly South African existence. Each of our national parks is part of the country’s collective soul and an inalienable component of our nation’s promise to its future,” said Dr Mabunda about the role of national parks in the country’s environmental development.

Inspired by Dr Mabunda’s commitment to the environmental health of South Africa, SANParks has committed to take the objectives of the annual Earth Day commemoration and make it a daily goal to ensure that South Africa conserves its natural resources for the benefit of its citizens, as Dr Mabunda concluded: “We should strive to use national parks as a rallying point that makes us a great nation of champions.”

Issued by
SANParks Corporate Communications

Media Enquiries:
Zakiya Fareed – Media and Stakeholder Relations, tel: 012 426 5202, cell: 082 766 6342, e-mail:


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