The intrinsic link between wildlife and humanity 

In an address chaired by Mike Miller of Business Fit International and member of the South African Chamber of Commerce UK’s Advisory Board, an insightful conversation concerning the urgency around conservation efforts was hosted.  

The panellists included: 

Pooran Desai, CEO of One Planet Living. He highlighted the urgency for a global wake-up and acceleration in conservation efforts to reduce our collective impact on the planet whilst supporting the Rewilding Africa initiative and its full stated intent. 

John Charter of the Human Elephant Foundation furthered the discussion by sharing the South African-based Trust’s commitment to developing elephant corridors and spaces in Africa with the intention of helping save our last remaining herds of wild elephants, allowing the gracious mammals to live in a symbiotic relationship with humans in Africa. 

James Arnott of CWC Africa Projects highlighted their community-centric approach. “Our goal remains developing six million hectares of predominantly community-owned land around national parks and game reserves into Communal Wild Conservancies (CWC), over the next ten years.  

Our flagship project, the 100000ha Thaka Valley Communal Wild Conservancy in Zululand, South Africa, Kwazulu Natal, is our visionary proof of concept project. The 35000ha Loziba Wildlife Reserve, situated in the heart of this Conservancy, is already underway with the purchase of the first farm in full swing.”  

Community engagement started four years ago.  Whilst the Conservancy master planning is firmly underway, we urgently need suitable donors or investor funding to acquire additional privately owned farms and first phase infrastructure including planning, fencing, critical services and roads.” Addressing the attendees next was.  

Grant Fowlds, Author, Social Entrepreneur Project Rhino Alliance Director gave a self-deprecating entertaining anecdotal account of his experiences and challenges in African Conservation.  

Fowlds wears several hats.  

With Project Rhino, he works to prevent wildlife crime and the ongoing slaughter of South Africa’s last rhinos.  

His other supporting roles include involvement in Rewilding Africa CIC, CWC Africa Projects and the Human Elephant Foundation.  

Regardless of his hat, his plea aligned with his fellow panellists, highlighting the need for urgent action and funding to support the Loziba Wildlife Reserve project.  

He briefly touched on his latest book, Rewilding Africa, which was available for guests who wished to pledge funding to the project.  

The Message 

The key interesting point brought to the fore by all the speakers, was how intricately linked our survival as a human race is with that of our wildlife.  

Chairman of the South African Chamber of Commerce UK, Sharon Constançon, concluded with a summation of the presentations centering on the responsibility of the global financial community to innovate together to find financial investment solutions to suit the varied investor needs.   

Creating capital solutions to invest in these types of genuine, results-focused conservation initiatives, whilst earning a return for the investor, if that be the family office, corporate or HNWI’s requirement.  

She emphasised the support she and the SA Chamber will provide to conservation protection. 

Closing Discussions 

A riveting Q &A session brought the event to a close.  

Respondents included Sbu Jiyana, a community landowner and partner in Loziba Wildlife Reserve, he featured in the videos of the community projects and was moved to understand the support and interest from the UK. 

David White from the Durban DRG offices and SA Ambassador for the SA Chamber UK, and Andries Botha, world-renowned artist and trustee of the Human Elephant Foundation shared their insights on strategic conversations and changes happening on the ground.  

Fascinating thoughts included how tourism is part of the problem and solution.    

Constançon articulated a critical view, that encapsulated how investors could consider rewilding as worth the philanthropic investment but, at the same time, being a sensible business investment with a return – not only about the handout but more about making capital sweat its value.  

Wine and Conservation 

South Africa truly is a country rich in heritage and culture. One of the rich cultures is wine production. 

A wine tasting hosted by Gerhard Perold, grandson of the founder of Pinotage, from the Perold Wine Cellar and a talk by Bruce Jack from Bruce Jack Wines highlighted the significant role of the South African wine industry in protecting our planet and ensuring sustainable farming.  

They noted in particular that South Africa had taken the global lead in spearheading solutions for sustainable viticulture practices that include broader community participation. 

Visit or Invest – Please make Contact 

If you are interested in visiting the proposed Thaka Valley Conservancy and Loziba Wildlife Reserve project or any of the other proposed conservancy landscapes listed on the website, please contact James Arnott

If you have a solution for the proposed conservation investment model, or ideas to explore around financial product creation, please contact James Arnott 

James Arnott – Contact details: 

[email protected]   / +44 7577 18770  /  +27 83 625 8078 

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