Two local game reserves to enjoy biodiversity protection

2011-03-02 00:00

TWO privately owned Pietermaritzburg game reserves are among five in the province proclaimed to be protected under the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife biodiversity stewardship programme.

The aim of the programme is to enforce the protection of these tourist destination sites and to compel their owners to ensure conservation of unique natural assets.

The local protected private game reserves are the 444 Hilton College Nature Reserve and the Mpushini Protected Environment.

Other protected areas in the province are Somkhanda Game Reserve, which falls under the Gumbi tribal authority in Mkuze, northern KZN, Mbona Private Nature Reserve in Karkloof in the midlands and Gelijkwater Mistbelt Nature Reserve in Babanango, northern KZN.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Jeff Gaisford said his organisation started to develop the biodiversity stewardship programme in 2006.

“The stewardship programme promotes and supports the wise use and management of natural resources and biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide through … voluntary legal agreements with private and communal landowners and land-users,” he said.

Ezemvelo CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize said: “Biodiversity stewardship rests on the principles of sustainable utilisation, landowner rights and responsibilities, and the responsibility that government should not only conserve biodiversity, but also provide support for citizens who strive to manage their resources.

“The value of these new protected areas comes not only in the improved management and protection of our natural environment, but also in the general benefits to the province. An improved environment is recognised worldwide as being a critical success factor for sustainable economic development and the upliftment of all communities in an area.”

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