'Stop stealing from our kids’

2014-08-11 00:00

POACHERS are stealing the future from generations of children.

That is the stark warning from the chairperson of the Mayibuye Community Trust, Welcome Mphanga, whose people are working closely with the Lawrence Anthony Earth Foundation to create a new community game reserve in Camperdown.

Mphanga said: “Our people must learn to love animals, not just their cattle, goats and dogs at home, but game, which they need to realise is far more valuable for trading than cattle. We have a big educational problem on our hands and we need government support to teach the community about the negative effects of poaching. If they poach, they are stealing from their children in future generations.

“There is a time and place for hunting within the culling season, but it must be controlled and must be part of a culling programme.”

The Mayibuye Community Trust’s plea comes just weeks after the Department of Environmental Affairs revealed that 558 rhino, including 52 in KwaZulu-Natal, had already been killed for their horns in 2014.

The Mayibuye Community Game Reserve plans to offer visitors the chance to see South Africa’s big five — rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard and lion — by early 2015. The reserve, which will have three luxury lodges, currently covers 4 650 hectares and will eventually stretch from Camperdown to Inanda Dam in the east and up to the Wartburg area in the north.

Mayibuye, which means “bring back”, comprises land taken away from the residents in forced removals during the apartheid era and successfully claimed back through the Land Commission by the 445 displaced members of the Mayibuye Community Trust.

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