How can we make
"The community is part of conservation. You cannot manage a reserve from the inside out, you must manage it from the outside in."
Sabie Game Park Ranger
Many underprivileged communities see conservation as a "threat" to them.
Are you game to go out of your comfort zone and initiate contact with them to begin collaborating on a solution to the issue?
Matt Bracken talks to Ferdie Terblanche, a soccer fan and conservationist, on the sport's influence in both of those spheres.
What if I told you two days ago that the game of soccer could save the rhinoceros?
“I would not believe it, I would not believe it… but we are seeing it. Seeing is believing and we are experiencing it, it was all so magical. Yesterday was really magical.”
Sabie Game Park Ranger
These poachers are not "Mickey Mouse". They are serious people that are doing the wrong things.
Just to uplift that person with a soccer jersey. To empower that poacher and say to him straight; "you are not nothing, you are somebody".
You can see it in their emotions when they receive their soccer jerseys, when they play soccer, how they walk around, how proud they are, and so on; it's all very magnificent.
But when I was talking to them, I couldn't believe they were shouting at me, ambushing me, and so on.
It seemed like a celebration and something unique yesterday.
The communities are seeing that conservation is not a threat to them and that we are willing to go out to them and begin communicating with them so that we can work together to address the problem.
“The community is part of conservation. You cannot manage a reserve from the inside out; you must manage a reserve from the outside inwards. Communities all over the world are all a part of conservation.
You cannot say poachers are from the community and that they are separate from everyone within the community. They are part of the community and one must accept that.” Ferdie Terblanche, Game Park Ranger.
The concept of poaching will not go away. You must address that. So it's better that you step out of your comfort zone, meet them, see what's going on there, and work together with them.
All it took was a soccer ball to bring the two parties together.
That was a very big step!
“People who will one day be famous for their skills on the soccer field are among those who tune in to local games.”
Because soccer in the African community is a very big deal, the game of soccer is life, it's joy, happiness, competition, something for them to get excited about, so bringing a soccer team to a community is a major uplifting point.