KwaZulu-Natal will be hosting the second Youth Rhino Summit as part of the ongoing efforts of Project Rhino KZN, the Kingsley Holgate Foundation, and the team building company, TVG, to mobilise the voices of young people against rhino poaching and wildlife crime.
Youth delegates will debate critical issues affecting the rhino poaching crisis and continue to build on the worldwide call to action that began last year at the inaugural World Youth Rhino Summit. This brought youth delegates from 20 nations to the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and launched the World Youth Wildlife Declaration.
This locally focused Youth Rhino Summit will take place from 2 to 5 July, and includes presentations by conservation leaders from South Africa and Mozambique. Students between the ages of 14 and 17 years old who are interested in attending can contact TVG on 031-7012845 for more information.
Following the opening address by celebrity wildlife vet, Dr William Fowlds, the executive director of the Joaquim Chissano Foundation and former Mozambican minister of foreign affairs, Dr Leonardo Simao, will speak about the importance of community development and effective legislation to reduce poaching and wildlife crime.
Delegates will listen to intelligence and security expert, Nigel Morgan, who is the chairman of the Focus Africa Foundation, discuss the critical role that intelligence plays in tackling the multinational criminal syndicates behind the rhino poaching crisis.
David Bozas from the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation will talk about the importance of engaging communities in rhino conservation, and Chris Laubscher will teach delegates how to lobby local politicians to affect change. The programme also includes a debate on the controversial issue of whether to legalise rhino horn trade, with expert panelists from both the pro and anti-trade lobbies.
The relationship between culture and conservation will be covered by African explorer, Kingsley Holgate, who will be hosting a ‘fireside chat’ with delegates. Meanwhile entertainment will be provided by South Africa’s rising Maskandi star duo, David ‘Qadasi’ Jenkins and Maqhinga, with participation from dancers from Lesedi and Shakaland cultural villages. All performers are also active and vocal ambassadors for rhino conservation.
The summit will culminate in delegates unveiling their personal pledges to take action and adding their messages to the World Youth Wildlife Declaration, which has been endorsed by luminaries such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Ian Player and Dr Jane Goodall. A delegation of South African youth wildlife ambassadors will be heading to Hanoi in Vietnam later this year to present the World Youth Wildlife Declaration to leaders of Asian countries driving the demand for rhino horn, ivory and other endangered species.
The Youth Rhino Summit programme aims to increase conservation awareness and mobilise the youth generation to speak out against the escalating poaching of rhino and global wildlife crime. Along with the Rhino Art campaign that has now reached over 200,000 young people, it has also generated an online social movement – the #RhinoShoutOutChallenge – that is being spearheaded by leading South African schools.
The late Dr Ian Player’s closing address to delegates at the 2014 World Youth Rhino Summit, rings true for this new group of youth wildlife ambassadors.
“You young people of the 21st Century have a task of critical importance. You have to ensure that ancient animals like the rhino continue to survive, so that your grand-children will be able to see them too. In this you dare not fail. We conservationists have done our duty to God and the animals: we now hand over this responsibility to you. Determined leadership and dedication are desperately needed at this time.”