Predictions On The Future: How Climate Change Will Affect Southern Africa

As the reality of a changing climate becomes irrefutable and extreme weather phenomena occur around the world with more regularity, the looming question for all of us is; what comes next?

The truth is, nobody is exactly sure of the details. But experts do know that not all regions will be affected equally. And, according to Future Climate for Africa, the African continent will be hit hardest by climate change. 

CLIMATE IMPACT: AFRICA’S BIG FOUR: 

Before we look at the changes southern Africa will face, it’s helpful to know what all of Africa can expect. There are four key reasons why scientists believe Africa will experience the most drastic changes;

  • African society is closely connected to the land; hundreds of millions of people depend on rainfall to grow their food.
  • The African climate system is controlled by an extremely complex mix of large-scale weather systems, which, compared to almost all other inhabited regions, is vastly understudied. It’s therefore capable of all sorts of surprises. 
  • The two most extensive decreases in rainfall on the planet by the end of the century are expected to occur over Africa; one over North Africa and the other over southern Africa.
  • Finally, the capacity for adaptation to climate change is low; poverty equates to reduced choice at the individual level while governance generally fails to prioritise and act on climate change.

It’s important to note that our understanding of climate change in Africa is disturbingly poor as a result of gaping holes in historic data and a lack of climate research in Africa. For example, there are more reporting rain gauges in the UK county of Oxfordshire than the entire Congo Basin. Nevertheless, many experts believe Africa is sleepwalking into a potential catastrophe. 

What particular changes can we expect in the climate in southern Africa?

HIGHER TEMPERATURES, LESS RAINFALL 

Unless concerted action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures may rise by more than 4°C over the southern African interior by 2100, and by more than 6°C over the western, central and northern parts of South Africa. This is according to models built by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Many towns in the Karoo are already experiencing a process of desertification.

The IPCC also projects these warmer temperatures to intensify existing precipitation patterns, with increases in rainfall in equatorial regions of up to 30% and decreases of 10-20% in southern Africa. There’s also a general agreement that extreme events (higher max temperatures, longer periods between rainfall, more intense rainfall) and variability will increase, but little certainty on the extent or precise locations.

VIRUSES, DISEASE + INCREASED HEALTH COMPLICATIONS

Global warming has already been implicated in the increased transmission of malaria, Rift Valley Fever, schistosomiasis, cholera and other diarrheal pathogens, and Avian influenza in South Africa. Africa is also likely to face new disease challenges caused by the impacts of climate change outside the continent. For example, the thawing of northern hemisphere permafrost will free long trapped viruses that will use avian migration to move across continents. Specific predictions are impossible, but the majority of infectious diseases that have emerged in the last 100 years have had a zoonotic origin (from animals). Health systems in and outside of Africa will face new challenges.

Climate change will affect water availability and potentially the quality too, which in turn, could have serious impacts on health. ‘If every person in South Africa has continuous access to water that’s clean and safe to drink and in the quantities needed, the health impacts from water-borne diseases, such as cholera, can be greatly minimised,’ writes Professor Rebecca Garland, principal researcher of the climate studies modelling and environmental health research group at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). ‘However, the opposite is also true. If people do not have access to water that’s clean and safe to drink, the health impact from deteriorating water quality from climate change will be worsened.’ Garland also writes that exposure to high ambient temperatures, including those experienced during heatwaves, has been associated with increases in mortality from heatstroke, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory diseases.

FOOD SECURITY 

Food access is already an issue in South Africa given the existing levels of poverty. The situation is expected to worsen given that crop yields are likely to decline in several provinces, which would lead to a loss of livestock. To confound the matter, any negative impacts of climate change on the country’s economy will have major implications for food prices, which is largely contingent on affordability. 

THE POOR WILL SUFFER MOST
Simply put: if an individual’s or household’s socio-economic status is robust, they will have a greater ability to withstand shocks induced by climate change. In South Africa, however, about a quarter of the population are unemployed and over half live below the poverty line. 

According to the Financial and Fiscal Commission report from CSIR, the 20 most vulnerable municipalities in South Africa are rural, small towns and secondary cities. Their vulnerabilities are expected to increase due to the high levels of informal housing and the lack of efficient management of these growth areas. ‘Rural areas are particularly vulnerable due to their dependency on climate-sensitive resources such as water and an agrarian landscape,’ says Professor Garland. 

CLIMATE REFUGEES

Rising temperatures will also influence the habitability of some areas. However, the largest climate-related migration will likely result from poor farming opportunities, adding to the inevitable movement of people from rural to urban areas already underway and, to a lesser extent, to movement across national boundaries.

THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL ADAPTATION STRATEGY 

Globally, the response to climate change is gradually gaining momentum as the impacts of climate change unfold. In South Africa, however, it’s increasingly apparent that delays in responding to climate change over the past decades have jeopardised human life and livelihoods. While slow progress, especially in the energy sector, has garnered much attention, focus is now shifting to developing plans and systems to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The CSIR says it is critically important for planners and decision-makers to move from ‘reactive crisis management approaches’ to proactive climate change and disaster risk management approaches. 

In 2017, the second draft of the South African National Adaptation Strategy was made open for public comment. This is a 10-year plan, which describes key strategic areas, with measurable outcomes. The implementation priorities for health are listed as water and sanitation, early warning systems for effective public health interventions during extreme weather events, and occupational health.

SO, WHAT’S NEXT?

While the effects of climate change will be significant, we’re not powerless. Technological innovations (more research in Africa by Africans, more investment in research, adaptive health systems) and smart governmental decisions can still make a difference. Ironically, a shared interest in climate solutions can perhaps provide an avenue for new forms of cooperation between African states and be the opportunity the continent needs to see the common humanity that unites us all.

Collagen Rich Mushroom Risotto

This creamy, gluten-free, dairy-free, collagen-rich mushroom risotto has been created in collaboration with The Harvest Table.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Arborio/ Risotto Rice
  • 4 Tbsp Harvest Table Bone Broth
  • 125g White Buttom Mushrooms
  • 125g Brown Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Large Onion
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • 1 Celery Stalk
  • 1/2 Red Pepper
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 10 Sprigs Fresh Origanum
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Cups Boiled Water
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • Black Pepper & Salt to taste
  • 100ml Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Mascorpone

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place half of the measured fresh produce into a food processor
    and pulse until a paste is formed.
  2. Chop the other half finely, except for the mushrooms – they
    should be sliced.
  3. Pour the olive oil in a pan on medium heat.
  4. Add the diced onion to the pan, fry for a few minutes until just
    translucent.
  5. Add the celery, carrots, red pepper and garlic to the onion and
    fry for 5minutes.
  6. Add the rice to the pan and fry slightly.
  7. Add the blended paste and chopped mushrooms to the pan and
    fry on medium-low heat until the mushrooms are cooked
    through.
  8. Add the wine to the pan and allow the alcohol to evaporate.
  9. Mix the Bone Broth Powder with the boiled water and whisk
    well until incorporated.
  10. Pour half a cup of the Bone Broth to the pan and stir
    continuously until all the liquid is absorbed. Do this until all
    the Bone Broth is used.
  11. While continuously stirring, season the risotto with sea salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Add the Parmesan cheese to the rice once it is cooked through.
  13. Garnish with a dollop of mascarpone, crushed black pepper and
    extra Parmesan shavings.

Greek Veggie Bowls (Whole30 Approved)

These Greek Veggie Bowls with Greek Cauliflower Rice are a weeknight favorite! Packed with veggies, fresh herbs, hummus, and so much flavor, these easy-to-prepare gluten-free bowls are a fabulous dinner or lunch, and perfect for meal prep!

Ingredients

Grilled Or Roasted Veggies

Cauliflower Rice: (See notes for regular rice)

Everything Else

  • Hummus, for topping (homemade or store-bought)
  • Optional: crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread veggies across it in one single layer. Toss with extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Bake for 45-5o minutes, or until veggies are soft and start to blister.
  3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in onion, garlic, and herbs and cook until the onion turns translucent. Add in cauliflower rice and lemon and cook for 5 minutes. Take off heat and set aside.
  4. Assemble the bowl! Place roasted veggies and cauliflower rice in serving bowls of choice. Top with hummus, feta cheese (if using), and serve right away or store in an airtight container for later.

 

Recipe Notes

  • *To make this dish with regular rice, follow the directions on your basmati rice package, and add fresh herbs, garlic, and onion to the water while cooking your rice!

What is Whole30?

5 Things To Know Before Starting Whole30

Whole30 Recipe Inspiration

Recipe from lexiscleankitchen.com

Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai (Paleo + Whole30)

This Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai is a simple rendition of a very classic, traditional recipe, swapping rice noodles out for fresh zucchini noodles. Choose whatever protein you’d like, shrimp, chicken or tofu and definitely don’t skip on the tamarind – if you want the full experience!

Ingredients
  • 2 to 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce*
  • 3 tablespoon honey or other sweetener (LEAVE OUT FOR WHOLE 30)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pasture-raised eggs
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • ½ pound peeled and deveined wild caught shrimp*
For Serving:
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 2 limes, quartered (optional)
  • red pepper flakes or thinly sliced hot peppers (optional)
Instructions
  1. Using your spiralizer, mandoline slicer, julienne peeler or other veggie noodle maker, cut your zucchini into noodles. Place into a colander or strainer and sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to sit, sweat and drain while you make your sauce and start the cooking.
  2. Make the Pad Thai Sauce: in a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon tamarind paste, fish sauce, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to barely a simmer. Taste and add more tamarind paste, as needed, if desired. It should have a sharp, pungent flavor, but not unpleasantly sour. You can also adjust the sweetness level, as desired. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.
  3. Remove the zucchini noodles from the colander or strainer and with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, gently squeeze as much of the moisture from the noodles, as you can. Set aside.
  4. Place the ghee or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add the scallions and garlic and cook for about one minute. Add the eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, then add shrimp.
  5. When shrimp begin to turn pink add the zucchini noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with tamarind sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, just about 1-3 minutes remove from the heat and serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro and lime wedges and additional red pepper flakes.
NOTES
  • You can also use cut up boneless chicken breast, but you will want to use already cooked chicken or note that it will take longer than the shrimp to cook
  • Leave out the eggs and shrimp, opt for tofu, if you are looking for vegetarian/vegan.
  • Swap tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos for the fish sauce to be vegetarian/vegan.
  • Leave out the honey/sweetener for Whole30

What is Whole30?

5 Things To Know Before Starting Whole30

Whole30 Recipe Inspiration

Recipe from tasty-yummies.com

Vegetarian Paleo Chilli Bowl

A Paleo AND Vegetarian Whole30 Chili recipe. (Which means your gluten free friends can also eat this.) Yes, that’s possible. It’s even vegan if you don’t don’t add the egg!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons avocado or coconut oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 1/2-3 cups of butternut, cut into cubes (about 1 small squash)
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, including the liquid
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Poached or fried eggs, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or Instant Pot, heat the oil to medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and bell peppers to the pot, and cook, stirring, until the onions become translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the cilantro and eggs) and stir. Cover and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cilantro. Taste, and add more salt, if needed.
  4. Ladle into bowls and throw a poached egg on top if you feel so inclined.

Recipe from perrysplate.com

What is Whole30?

5 Things To Know Before Starting Whole30

 

Whole30 Recipe Inspiration

Whole30 Vegetarian Power Bowl

For those of you wondering what a “power bowl” is: think of it as a giant collection of goodness, all piled together in a single dish with a yummy sauce on top.

This power bowl is part roasted vegetable bowl, part creamy dressing, and part lean protein.

Ingredients

FOR THE VEGETABLES:

  •  2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil — or melted coconut oil, divided
  •  1 small red onion — cut into wedges
  •  2 large sweet potatoes — scrubbed with skins on, halved lengthwise
  •  2 teaspoons chili powder — divided
  •  3/4 teaspoon salt — divided
  •  3/4 teaspoon black pepper — divided
  •  1 small head broccoli — or cauliflower
  •  1 small bunch kale — large stems removed

FOR THE DRESSING:

  •  3 tablespoons lemon juice — about 1 small lemon
  •  3 tablespoons tahini — or swap natural almond butter
  •  1 clove garlic — minced
  •  1/2-1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  4 hard-boiled eggs — or soft-boiled, see recipe notes

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Place the onions and sweet potatoes on the baking sheet, turning the sweet potatoes cut sides up. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil, making sure the flesh of the sweet potatoes is well coated. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Rub and toss to coat, and then arrange on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. While the sweet potatoes cook, chop the broccoli or cauliflower into florets (you should have about 5 cups total). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the sweet potatoes so that they are
  4.  cut sides down. Push the sweet potatoes and onions to one side and add the cauliflower or broccoli to the open side of the pan. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder. Carefully toss to coat, and then return the baking sheet to the oven. The pan will be very crowded, and the veggies will overlap somewhat. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft and the other vegetables are crisp-tender.
  5. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and place the kale on top of the vegetables. Drizzle the kale with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Lightly rub the kale to coat, and then arrange the kale in a single layer over the whole pan. Return the pan to oven and bake for 5 additional minutes, until the kale is very lightly crisp and softened. Remove the whole pan from the oven and set it aside to cool.
  6. While vegetables finish roasting, prepare the dressing: Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons hot water. Whisk to combine. Taste and add additional salt and up to 1/2 teaspoon additional cumin as desired.
  7. To serve: Once the vegetables are cool enough to handle, cut the sweet potatoes into bite-size pieces. Roughly chop the kale. Divide the vegetables among serving bowls. Slice the hard-boiled eggs in half and place 2 halves on top of each bowl. Drizzle with tahini dressing and enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • To cook hardboiled eggs: you can make these in your Instant Pot (this is a great tutorial) or on your stove by following the directions in step 3 of this post.
  • Leftovers: Store roasted vegetables in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Store dressing in a jar in the refrigerator and eggs in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat the vegetables gently in the microwave, and then top with the egg and dressing just before serving.
  • This recipe is ultra flexible. Feel free to swap out any of the roasted veggies for others you like. Brussels sprouts are another of my favorite additions.

Recipe from wellplated.com

 

What is Whole30?

5 Things To Know Before Starting Whole30

Whole30 Recipe Inspiration

Whole30 Recipe Inspiration

We’ve put together some of our favourite recipes that meet the requirements for the Whole30 programme!

Whole30 Vegetarian Power Bowl

Vegetarian Paleo Chilli Bowl

Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai (Paleo + Whole30)

Our Green Version of Shakshuka

Greek Veggie Bowls (Whole30 Approved)

Chocolate Coconut Date Balls

Mini Heart-Shaped Sweet Potato Pizza

Creamy Vegan Parmesan & Pine Nut Kale

Tumeric Spiced Collagen Latte

Immune-Boosting Adaptogen Soup

 

 

What is Whole30?

5 Things To Know Before Starting Whole30

5 Things To Know Before Starting Whole30

Unlike other diets, the focus of Whole30 is to identify intolerances that you may not have realized were negatively affecting your health. The diet, founded by Melissa Hartwig Urban just over 10 years ago, came about when a 30-day diet experiment “transformed Urban’s health, habits, and emotional relationship with food.”

It’s something that takes dedication and commitment for the entire 30 days, but really isn’t too difficult once you’ve made the commitment. Here’s our top tips if you’re thinking of investing in your health for the next 30 days.

  1. It’s not about weight loss

Whole30 is about figuring out what does and doesn’t work for YOUR body. It’s essentially an eliminatory diet that helps you figure out your food intolerances as well as “reset” your midset when it comes to food.

DON’T weigh yourself during the 30 days. That’s not where your intent should lie, but rather take not of improvements in sleep, energy levels, mood, digestion, skin reactions etc. Whole30 aims to manage inflammation and nurture your gut; ultimately nurturing your relationship with food.

  1. There’s no measuring or restricting calories (Eat as much as you want!)

Yep. This is our kinda diet. All you need to do is stick to the guidelines of what you can eat. There’s no counting calories needed or measuring cups that need to be pulled out at every meal. You’ll be eating lots (TONS) of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, herbs & spices. Whole foods that nourish and sustain.

  1. Yes, vegans & vegetarians CAN do Whole30

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ve probably read the ‘no’ list and thought, “No Legumes?? Where am I supposed to get protein??”. And now you’re wondering if this is even feasible. The answer is yes, but, you’ll need to put a bit of work into planning your meals well.

Luckily, not ALL legumes are excluded. You’re able to enjoy green beans and sugar snap peas which have good protein value as well as nuts & seeds like cashews & flax.

Ultimately, you need to listen to your body & ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients (which might mean leaving legumes and beans in the mix for the time being). Check out these handy shopping lists to help with your next visit to the grocery store.

  1. No Slip-Ups!

This is 30 days that you really need to take and invest in yourself. It’s only effective if you fully commit to eliminating specific foods so that you can accurately test how your body responds. A new diet is always an adjustment, so being prepared will make it harder to slip up and meal-prepping can go a long way in helping you stick to it.

Be prepared to turn down plans & explain to friends and family, but remind yourself why you’ve taken on the challenge. This is for YOU.

  1. The reintroduction phase is just as important

The end of the 30 days is really the most important part of the process. You’ll need to reintroduce foods back slowly & mindfully to really figure out what foods are trigger foods and cause reactions (whether that be bloating, rashes, asthma, breakouts, diarrhea etc).

 

Keep these things in mind & you’ll be equipped to make it through 30 days of whole eating without a hitch and be better off for it!

 

What is Whole30?

Whole30 Recipe Inspiration

What is Whole30?

You’ve most likely heard the term Whole30 by now and may even know someone who’s risen to the challenge. Created by a pair of nutritionists in 2009, it’s a month-long program that involves eliminating the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups from your diet.

Translation? No sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes (and plenty of other fine print) for a month. Sounds intense, right? But it can be done!

Unlike other diets, the focus of Whole30 is to identify intolerances that you may not have realized were negatively affecting your health. And it goes beyond just the food you eat; it’s also about resetting your habits & emotional relationship with food.

THE RULES.

YES. Eat Real Food

Eat meat, seafood, and eggs; vegetables and fruit; natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with a simple or recognizable list of ingredients, or no ingredients at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.

For a full list of what you CAN eat, have a look here.

No. Avoid for 30 Days

  • No added sugar (real/artificial). This includes maple syrup, honey, agave, date syrup etc.
  • No alcohol. In any form, not even for cooking. (and ideally no tobacco)
  • No grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
  • No legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy: soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy lecithin.
  • No dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
  • No MSG, carrageenan or sulphites.
  • No junk foods or treats with “approved ingredients”. Even if the ingredients are technically compliant, these are the same foods that got you into health-and-craving trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
  • Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. If you focus only on body composition, you’ll overlook all of the other dramatic, lifelong benefits this plan has to offer.

 

THE FINE PRINT

These foods are exceptions to the rule, and are allowed during your Whole30.

  • Ghee or clarified butter. These are the only source of dairy allowed. Plain old butter is NOT allowed, as you may be sensitive to the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter.
  • Fruit juice. Some products or recipes will include fruit juice as a stand-alone ingredient or natural sweetener, which is fine for the purposes of the Whole30.
  • Certain legumes. Green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are allowed.
  • Vinegar and botanical extracts. Most vinegar (including white, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, and rice) and alcohol-based botanical extracts (like vanilla, lemon, or lavender) are allowed. (Just not malt-based vinegar or extracts, which will be clearly labeled as such, as they contain gluten.)
  • Coconut aminos. All brands of coconut aminos (a brewed and naturally fermented soy sauce substitute) are acceptable, even if you see the words “coconut nectar” or “coconut syrup” in their ingredient list.
  • Salt. Did you know that all iodized table salt contains sugar? Sugar (often in the form of dextrose) is chemically essential to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost. Because all restaurants and pre-packaged foods contain salt, salt is an exception to our “no added sugar” rule.

 

Your only job during the Whole30 is to focus on making good food choices. You don’t need to weigh or measure, count calories, restrict calories, or purchase everything organic or grass-fed. Your only job is to stick to the Whole30 rules for 30 straight days… no cheats, no slips, no “special occasions.”

It’s only 30 days. It’s for you.

5 Things To Know Before Starting Whole30

Whole30 Recipe Inspiration

Sniffer Rats and Muthi markets: 9 Innovative Ways Conservationists are Tackling Poaching

When it comes to tackling poaching, where do you even start? We’re told that for poachers, it’s often a matter of putting food on the table, which means they’re desperate to try every approach they can just in case it works. Conservation groups like the Endangered Wildlife Trust are starting to think the same, leaving no stone unturned in their quest to prevent crimes against wildlife and save precious and dwindling species. In the past year, they’ve embraced the following approaches;

  • IN A POACHER’S FOOTSTEPS

Using similar methods they have for tracking wildlife; rangers in six important rhino reserves have started assessing poachers by looking at signs such as footprints, breaks in the fence line and evidence that people were sleeping in an area. These observations are analysed on a programme called CMore and inform the rangers where patrols should be deployed in a way that will best protect rhinos. 

  • SNIFFER RATS

It’s exceptionally challenging for law enforcement officers to keep a handle on what is coming and going at a shipping port. The Dar Es Salaam port in Tanzania, for example, handles over 12,500,000 tons of cargo per year. Searching this volume is a logistical nightmare. So conservationists turned to the rat, an animal that has been associated with ports and ships for hundreds of years.

They’ve started working with the African giant pouched rat to detect wildlife contraband in shipping ports. To date, they have successfully trained the rats to detect pangolins and rosewood – two species rampant in the illegal trade market. All 11 rats are identifying pangolin and rosewood samples at 80% accuracy on average, with very few false alarms. Ultimately, the rats will be able to detect pangolin scales hidden in a cargo of coffee beans. 

  • WILDLIFE CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION 

The Endangered Wildlife Trust also runs a training course to help with first responders at a wildlife crime scene. The modules cover arrests, search, seizure, collection of evidence and court testimony. They hosted 15 training courses over the last year and trained 300 participants from the Kruger National Park and protected areas in the Northern Cape. 

  • CONSERVATION CANINES 

Tracker dogs are vital to the cause, and they actually fulfil a range of roles. The Endangered Wildlife Trust provides three different types of tracker dogs:

  1. Dogs that can follow the scent of humans to allow the anti-poaching unit to track poachers through the bush. In one of the reserves where a dog was deployed, no rhinos were poached in more than 372 days, while their neighbours all lost rhinos. Another reserve was losing more than ten rhinos a year. Tellingly, within three months of the dogs being introduced, a major arrest was made, and the reserve has now gone nine months without poaching. 
  2. Dogs that have been trained to sniff out various items such as rhino horn, ivory, pangolin and ammunition.
  3. Dogs who support the Black Mambas, an all-female anti-poaching unit based at Balule Private Game Reserve near Hoedspruit. These women walk patrols of up to 20km per day, unarmed in Big 5 country. The dogs walk with them, providing an added layer of visible policing, and act as a first warning system for dangerous game in the area. 
  • INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY 

Communities living near protected areas have had little chance to participate in decisions around rhino management in the past. Their continued marginalisation has negatively impacted their attitude towards conservation. But the Restorative Justice Project aims to enhance community involvement. This project has been included in the Rhino Action Plan developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs. 

  • SAVING THE CYCAD 

Over the last year, The Endangered Wildlife Trust hosted an Advanced Cycad Law Enforcement Course to teach law enforcement officials to identify cycad species. There are now 10 more officials with specialised cycad law enforcement skills, who are ready to tackle cycad poaching in South Africa.

  • TACKLING CYBERCRIME 

The Endangered Wildlife Trust hosted the third Cybercrime training course with members from the South African Police Service and Provincial Nature Conservation. They spoke about the scope of the illegal wildlife trade and how to address this emerging practice. 

  • PROSECUTOR POP-WOW 

For prosecutors in Southern Africa, it’s invaluable for them to get together and share best practices when it comes to tackling wildlife crime. They did this at a prosecutor workshop in March 2018 hosted by The Endangered Wildlife Trust. The aim was to get all the prosecutors from the different regions on the same page with regards to strengthening prosecutions and the sentencing of wildlife crimes and to improve international collaboration. There were senior wildlife prosecutors from South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland. The workshop introduced the prosecutors to key initiatives such as victim impact statements that they can implement in prosecutions.

  • MUTHI MARKET RESEARCH 

Another unique approach was to use two students from Wits University to look into the illegal trade of pangolins locally. They conducted observational surveys for pangolins and pangolin products in muthi markets in five provinces (Gauteng, Limpopo, KZN, Limpopo and Mpumalanga) and Swaziland. They gathered an impressive amount of novel research material that has helped us better understand the demand for pangolins in southern Africa.

 

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