Zululand
Rhino talk by the youth
21:47 (GMT+2), Thu , 07 August 2014
Zululand
Larry Bentley

A WORLD-wide call to action by youth conservation ambassadors as they gather from around the world from 21 to 23 September in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

The World Youth Rhino Summit will be a focused gathering of 100 young conservation leaders aged 15-17 years from South Africa, other African countries and Vietnam.

They are all affected by the scourge of rhino poaching either as families of poachers, rangers or consumers.

Delegates, teachers and conservation leaders will be brought together at the symbolic iMfolozi Game Reserve to directly address the current rhino poaching crisis and develop resolutions needed to stop rhino poaching.

The mission is to engage youth conservation leaders in rhino/wildlife conservation and protection strategies and empower delegates to become Ambassadors for wildlife and conservation.

Objectives

The objectives include the understanding of, and commitment to, the values of conservation amongst the youth, particularly for rhino and other endangered species affected by illegal poaching and wildlife crime.

The summit also plans to educate tomorrow’s leaders on the growing problem of international wildlife crime and its  threats to biodiversity and wider issues such as national security.

Outcomes will give youth perspectives on rhino poaching, wildlife crime, demand-reduction and economic value of endangered species.

It will also connect young conservation leaders with current conservation, political, tribal and business leaders and foster knowledge-sharing between generations.

The delegates will develop an international network of concerned youth leaders.

At the end of the summit a World Youth Wildlife Declaration will be signed which will be acknowledged by eminent global bodies such as the United Nations, IUCN and CITES.

The summit will sound a world-wide call to action by the youth to save the rhino from extinction, led by Africa’s young conservation leaders, emanating from KwaZulu-Natal and to send key ‘hearts and minds’ messages from the youth to CITES, the UN and African and international leaders.

It also aims to attract national and international media and public attention to the plight of endangered species and to shape 100 young leaders to become future global wildlife & conservation ambassadors.

Background


The rhino poaching crisis affecting South Africa and smaller African and Asian rhino range states is now recognised as a worldwide wildlife emergency.

The brutal killing of rhinos, particularly in South Africa, is being driven by global criminal syndicates, many with links to international terrorism and narcotics cartels.

Wildlife crime has exploded in recent years to meet the increasing demand for rhino horn, elephant ivory and tiger products, particularly in Asia.

Today, it is the fourth most profitable illegal trade in the world after drugs, arms and human trafficking, estimated at US$19 billion annually.

Demand for rhino horn particularly in China and Vietnam has risen over the past four years, where it is seen as a status
symbol for the aspirating middle-classes and newly wealthy citizens of these countries, whose economies continue to grow.

This, combined with traditional beliefs in its non-existent medicinal properties, has made rhino horn one of the most expensive commodities in the world, outstripping gold, platinum and even cocaine in value.




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