by Richard Davis, Lyu Tianran
CAPE TOWN, May 21 (Xinhua) -- South Africa and China have potential to cooperate more in conservation and can learn from each other as the southern African nation has both progress and concerns in this area, said a South African professor ahead of International Day for Biological Diversity falling on Sunday.
When the world faces extinction of many wildlife species and depletion of wild animals' stock particularly on land, South Africa has made conservation efforts that it has many protected areas and open spaces where wildlife are protected and restored, and the nation is a global leader in conservation in many ways, David Walker, Department of Conservation and Marine Sciences at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, told Xinhua.
Many wildlife animal species in South Africa have improved in numbers including elephant, and great whales have returned to South African shores after whaling has been banned around the world, however, it also faces "really critical problems", including poaching of rhinos and abalone, and the declining number of penguins, said Walker.
The country, whose government said 451 rhinos were poached in 2021, saved rhinos from the almost extinction in 1960s and 1970s, and helped its number increase, but more recently there has been a huge outbreak of poaching, he said.
He also urged consumers anywhere in the world to make sure that they don't eat illegal sourced abalone.
The professor said it's good that the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) has been held in China and the east Asian country has "really improved its conservation profile in recent years."
"There's been a lot of work done in recent times in China to preserve those iconic species like panda in quite difficult circumstances, because China is obviously a country with a large population with needs to develop and it is not easy to marry those with conservation," he said, adding that China has got a lot to show to the world in terms of conservation.
According to Walker, he is optimistic that progress can be made during the second phase of COP15 that is scheduled to be held later this year in the same country and hopes that countries in the world could discuss the impact of the growing population on the planet and the consumption of resources.
The conference will convene governments from around the world to agree to a new set of goals for nature over the next decade through the Convention on Biological Diversity post-2020 framework process. It will also look at the implementation of the protocols of the Convention on Biological Diversity that deal with the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of nature, and the safe transport, handling and labelling of Living Modified Organisms.
South Africa and China have potential to have academic and governmental cooperation to stop poaching. South Africa can also offer the world and China its experience in protected areas while learning from China to manage development and conservation at the same time, Walker said. ■