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2023 Wildlife Act - Best for Nature-Based Tourism - South Africa

November 2, 2023
Harold Goodwin
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Under the Wildlife ACT banner sits two operations: a tour operator recruiting ecotourists to join the monitoring work done by the other arm - a registered non-profit Trust that does the actual conservation work on the ground. The Trust also fundraises, applies for grants and has merchandising agreements to fund its conservation work. Wildlife ACT's wildlife volunteer programme is Fair Trade Tourism certified and has welcomed 7,364 volunteers to date. Wildlife ACT specialise in the safe capture, transportation and reintroduction of endangered species into new areas. This requires intensive post-release monitoring. They have assisted WWF South Africa in reintroducing over 200 endangered Black Rhino as part of the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project. Their conservation volunteers,  up to 500 a year,  “get far more than the typical eco-tourism experience by playing an active role in genuine conservation. Activities include daily wildlife monitoring (including training in using equipment), rescuing and treating animals caught in snares, translocating animals to other reserves when necessary and essential data collection to inform management decisions, fighting against wildlife poaching, education and awareness of conservation in Africa and providing the means to support it while getting actively involved.

Too often, the interests of communities living adjacent to areas conserved for wildlife are ignored. To help address these issues, Wildlife ACT has initiated Community Conservation Projects around four game reserves in Zululand where endangered species need protection. This work involves in-school conservation lessons, a Kid’s Bush Camp program, adult conservation seminars, Wildlife Ambassador Clubs and community game drives, much of it focused on Rhino Conservation. Their Human-Wildlife Coexistence Programme (HWCP) reacts rapidly to assist when human-wildlife conflicts arise.


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