South Africa's natural wealth is among one of the most revered in the world and one that is of immeasurable importance to the country and our people. Driven by the need to conserve the nation's biodiversity through the promotion of conservation and sustainable use, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs aims to radically transform its approach to environmental protection while aligning these efforts with socio-economic development.
South Africa is at the forefront of the wildlife challenges and opportunities facing the continent. As the third most ‘mega diverse’ country in the world, it is home to a vast array of CITES-listed species and is globally recognised for our "Big Five".
The South African environment is a common heritage of all its people and the Department of Environmental Affairs is acutely aware of the need for all South Africans to support conservation of our wildlife - particularly those with close proximity to protected areas whose livelihoods have the potential to grow through conservation. With this in mind, it has devised several community-oriented programmes to promote awareness and bring on board those at the front line.
Numerous government-supported initiatives are aimed at building on the intersection between environmental protection and poverty reduction, these include: Kids in Parks, the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit, the Aloe Harvesting Trust, Khomani San’s Erin Game Ranch, Nambiti Private Game Reserve and the Turtle Monitoring Programme in iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
The Department strives to provide leadership in environmental management, utilisation, conservation and protection of ecological infrastructure. Branches such as Protected Areas Governance, Biodiversity Economy & Sustainable Use and Transfrontier Conservation Areas drive unprecedented efforts to harmonise the shared existence of wildlife and people.