World Youth Wildlife Summit 2019
Southern African Wildlife College, Kruger National Park
Along with habitat destruction, the illegal wildlife trade, driven by criminal organisations, rebel militias and high consumer demand particularly in Asia, is contributing to the dramatic decline of wildlife species across the world.
Wildlife crime affects rural livelihoods and negatively impacts on tourism revenue and job opportunities. Wildlife poaching also puts human lives at risk; it is estimated that over 1,000 park rangers have been killed in the line of duty over the past 10 years. In the process, Africa’s iconic wildlife species are being decimated.
The Wild Warriors
Chosen for their future leadership potential in business, government and society, 150 youth (Wild Warriors), aged 15 to 24, were invited to attend the World Youth Wildlife Summit. An additional 14 youth (previous attendees of the 2014 and 2015 World Youth Rhino Summits and youth leaders already active in conservation) were also selected as Regiment Leaders.
The youth delegates, educators, conservation role models and speakers represented 16 countries: South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Vietnam, Taiwan, Germany, India, Norway, Greece, the UK and the USA. The strongest representation of youth was from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
A highlight of the Summit was the inclusion of a group of five Vietnamese youth, who were able to witness the challenges facing Africa’s game reserves first-hand, form bonds with their African peers and hear the words of conservation experts dealing with the realities of wildlife crime on a daily basis.
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