Without a healthy environment, a healthy life is impossible. So when the plight of wildlife draws attention to polluted water, solving the problem benefits not only the wildlife, but also the people who share the water. The same goes for everything that affects us. For example, poisoning and persecuting bats removes a crucial pest controller as well as an important plant pollinator. Without bats, crop failure and heavy pesticide loads would increase, raising food prices and damaging our health. Without healthy grasslands our agricultural industry would become degraded and our ability to produce food for export and for consumption by all South Africans would be compromised.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is dedicated to conserving threatened species and ecosystems in Southern Africa to the benefit of all people. We fulfill this mission by:
- Initiating and implementing conservation research and action programmes;
- Preventing species extinctions and maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem functioning;
- Supporting sustainable natural resources and management;
- Communicating the principles of sustainable living and empowering people by capacity building, education and awareness programmes to the broadest possible constituency; and
- Taking a strong leadership and advocacy role in promoting environmental and social justice.
The EWT fills the key niche of on-the-ground conservation action. Our specialist programmes and large team of skilled field staff are deployed throughout Southern Africa and focus on applied fieldwork, research and direct engagement with stakeholders. Our work supports the conservation of species and ecosystems, and recognises the role that communities play in successful conservation programmes.
We focus on identifying the key factors threatening biodiversity and develop mitigating measures to reduce these. Through a broad spectrum of partnerships and networks, we develop innovative methodologies and best practice guidelines that help to reduce negative environmental impacts and promote harmonious co-existence and sustainable living for both people and wildlife.
Where we come from
In 1973 Clive Walker was inspired to paint a watercolour of a Cheetah, to sell 250 signed, numbered copies, and to use this money to help conserve the Cheetah that was, and in some places still is, shot as vermin. This initiative was so successful that Clive, together with businessmen Neville Anderson and James Clarke of the Johannesburg newspaper The Star, registered the Endangered Wildlife Trust as a NGO focusing on endangered and threatened animals and began to raise funds from an office based out of Clive’s garage.
The first three projects to carry the EWT logo focused on cheetah, brown hyenas and vultures. These projects dealt with population monitoring and human-wildlife conflict, issues that are still topical today. Thus from the word go, the EWT was all about action for biodiversity conservation and the founding vision of saving threatened species in a direct, hands-on way and at minimal cost has never been lost. It has however been broadened to include species, their habitats and ecosystems and the role of surrounding communities and landowners.
As Clive puts it: "If the universal slogan was 'Who cares about rhino anyway?' we would be a short step away from applying that mindless slogan to ourselves."
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