The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is proud to be a member of the Global Rewilding Alliance and endorses the Global Charter for Rewilding the Earth and the celebration of World Rewilding Day on 20 March 2021. The Global Rewilding Alliance is accelerating and mobilising the power of people working together to rewild the Earth and stabilise the climate, halt mass extinction, and reduce the risks of new pandemics.
People worldwide are increasingly aware of the intrinsic linkages between human and planetary health, particularly over the last year. The Global Charter for Rewilding the Earth articulates a hopeful vision of how efforts to protect intact natural habitats and “rewild” degraded lands and seas can effectively solve the great crises of our time—climate chaos, the accelerating extinction crisis as the world’s diversity of life is reduced, and the expanding urban/wild interface that increases the likelihood of pandemics.
Over the last 48 years, the EWT’s work has been closely aligned with the rewilding approach to conservation, using integrated programmes to find holistic solutions, acknowledging the complex overlaps between social, economic, and environmental problems, and reducing the likelihood of crises resulting from an unstable natural environment. Our vision of a healthy planet and an equitable world that values and sustains the diversity of all life encompasses many rewilding principles, and the EWT fully supports the charter’s mission to:
Transform the energy economy towards renewables.
Accelerate sustainable and regenerative agricultural and fishing practices.
Prevent the expansion of farming, logging, and mining into primary forests.
End unsustainable commercialisation of wildlife.
Expand restoration efforts through rewilding.
Over the past year, the EWT has worked tirelessly to reduce the loss of priority habitats due to negative development impacts, working with business to shift the footprint of a renewable energy facility outside of the Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit’s habitat range, and protecting 750 ha of this area. During this time, the EWT has also contributed to the restoration of 21,420 ha of priority habitat in southern and East Africa through projects such as the removal of invasive alien plants, rehabilitation of crucial habitat, and the implementation of integrated management plans to reduce key threats to plant and animal species, such as illegal harvesting and snaring.
Formal protection of priority habitat is integral to the rewilding approach, and in the same time frame, the EWT has worked with landowners and conservation authorities to ensure the improved protection of 162,549 ha of priority habitat through conservation agreements and the biodiversity stewardship mechanism. The EWT also purchased 2,800 ha of land within the Soutpansberg Mountains, the Medike Nature Reserve, ensuring the protection of this habitat, its ecosystem services to the community such as water production, and the cultural heritage of the area. We are also working with neighbouring landowners to extend this protection to their properties as well.
By increasing safe spaces for Cheetahs, the EWT’s Cheetah Range Expansion Project has increased the population from 217 Cheetah on 41 reserves to 442 Cheetahs on 63 reserves in less than ten years. Working with partner organisations, the EWT is also creating Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ) to restore and safeguard critical vulture breeding habitat, spanning approximately 30,000km2, and we have been involved in the continent’s largest African Wild Dog reintroduction, restoring Wild Dogs to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.
Throughout our programmes, all EWT staff members are dedicated to keeping wild spaces wild, ensuring species protection, and promoting functional ecosystems. This important work could not be done without our donors, partners, communities, and stakeholders.
This work does not end with us. You, too, can be involved in rewilding by;
Planting indigenous plants in your garden.
Making small ponds in your garden to attract aquatic species like frogs and dragonflies.
Create rooftop gardens to promote connectivity for birds.
Avoid the use of poisons that have serious knock-on effects on the food chain.
And lastly, be a conservationist. Advocate and support others to live more sustainably, see the value in our wildlife, and make better environmental decisions.