The ARCC is committed to socio-economic development programmes that integrate rural communities into participating in and benefiting from wildlife and ecosystem conservation.
This is critical for the future of African wildlife, especially the rhino. In many remote areas of Africa rural people live subsistence lives in close proximity to wildlife, sharing their land and living space with animals that frequently conflict with their agricultural and pastoral enterprises. Developing systems whereby rural communities are protected and benefit directly from the conservation of wild places and wildlife has become a cornerstone of conservation strategy.
In South Africa, and in particular the Eastern Cape, the rural areas in which private and State game reserves have been established are home to communities that are frequently semi-urban and excluded from interaction with wildlife by animal-proof fencing.
It is vital that these communities support and participate in wildlife conservation and the associated tourism industry, for the long term survival of these reserves and the ecosystems they protect.
ARCC has launched an investigation into the nature of rural communities related to wildlife areas, whether directly as game reserve employees or their families; indirectly in providing services to the reserves or simply living in close proximity. There is a complexity in defining what constitutes a community in these more developed areas within which wildlife reserves have been established, and also in establishing appropriate vehicles through which they are able to participate, benefit and thus support wildlife conservation.