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Africa needs to balance between mining and conversation: AWF

Africa needs to balance between mining and conversation: AWF

Tharisa

WILDLIFE conservationists have called on communities to ensure win-win situations for humans and nature in order to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

This was said on Monday by African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) country director Olivia Mufute in Harare during a wildlife and environment training workshop attended by journalists from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.

Mufute said as the race to extract Africa’s natural resources heated up, there should be a win-win situation for humans and nature.

Africa is home to a broad variety and abundance of the world’s biological and natural resources and the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

However, the over-exploitation and destruction of natural resources, including wildlife, is said to paint a grim picture of lack of efficient conservation methods.

“Africa’s natural world is declining at an unprecedented rate in millions of years. The way we produce and consume food, and the choice of energy, and the blatant disregard for the environment entrenched in our current economic models is pushing us to the limits of the continent,” Mufute said.

“Despite the importance of biodiversity to our livelihoods and wellbeing, our quest for socio-economic development has caused tremendous loss of biodiversity. The rapid economic and human population growth has come at a very high ecological cost.

“While efforts are being made to attract huge investments and financial capital, the same care is often not being taken to preserve our natural capital.”

Mufute added: “Agricultural expansion, new settlements, infrastructural development, and resources extraction are driving the degradation of forests, rivers, and grasslands. The resulting habitat loss and fragmentation threatens ecosystem goods and services upon which both people and wildlife depend,” she said.

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The World Economic Forum estimates that human activities have caused loss of approximately 83% of all wild mammals and half of all plants.

Since the 19th century, there have been concerted efforts towards the conservation of Africa’s natural resources.

 

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