A leopard cub with kill in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

South Africa side by side with nature

A Conservation International special report


South Africa’s poaching epidemic came as a wave.

Kruger National Park and the communities around its borders represent the global front line in the battle against rhino poaching. South Africa contains the largest remaining rhino populations in the world, and most of the killing is happening in and around Kruger.

In these villages, residents are caught in the middle of an escalating fight between poachers and conservationists — one that has grown in intensity and violence as prices skyrocket. Poor and dispossessed, these villages potentially hold the key to solving this crisis in the long run, and yet distrust runs deep.

Building on a successful model from South Africa’s rural Eastern Cape, Conservation South Africa is working to build a new future for these communities through sustainable development and access to livestock markets. In the world’s most unequal country, the success of these efforts suggests the road ahead for development and conservation worldwide.

In this special series, “South Africa side by side with nature,” writer Jamey Anderson and photographer Trond Larsen explore two South African landscapes where doing right by nature and doing right by people are the same.


This work is supported by the Global Environment Facility Earth Fund, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme as implementing agency, as part of the Conservation Agreements Private Partnership Platform.


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