One of our countries most treasured reserves

Well thatís is what they say, if you look up Ndumo on the web, the Kwazulu-Natal Parks write rave reviews about the area, singing its praises to the highest degree as do the tourism organizations.

Not well known, even to South Africans, Ndumo is an area of incredible natural beauty, having hugely significant, ecological importance and a wealth of rare and endangered species. It is also one of the countries oldest reserves being established in the 1920ís.
For years the area has suffered under the lack of management, funds and concern from the Kwazulu-Natal Parks. The local communities surrounding the area have put in land claims on the area viewing it as a viable crop growing area, which is totally unfounded and unjustified. The area has been deemed unsuitable for any sort of agricultural activities. The Jozini Dam stands firm to this and was built as a water reservoir, for future farming down stream from the dam, based on incorrect soil analyses carried out on the area years ago.
It is unique in the fact that no local communities were removed from the area in order to establish the reserve, resulting in senseless conflict from the local communities and Natal Conservation authorities. The eastern boundary fence of the reserve has had portions of it being ripped down by the locals, repaired again only to be ripped down time and time again. This act in itself bears testimony to the fact that the Park authorities have neglected to include the local community, showing a lack of initiative on their part and failure to reach common ground with the locals. The fence has now been totally removed in the east of the reserve and is still down at this present time, two years now, leaving the park vulnerable to poaching from the locals. This started off by killing small antelope species, which soon escalated to animals like Cape buffalo. More recently White Rhino has been poached in the reserve, a down hill trend which is only going to escalate at a rapid pace. Bearing in mind that this is seen as one of the treasured reserves of the Kwazulu-Natal Parks. On the ground there are only roughly 6 game guards which are expected to keep the 10 000 hectare reserve and it inhabitants safe, a virtually impossible task, I am sure you would agree. The area is home to at least 60% of bird species found in the country, some of which are endangered species, not to mention the species of plant, amphibians and mammals, whose future falls under the so called protection of the desperately inadequate Kwazulu- Natal Conservation Services.
The situation I believe is reconcilable with a little common sense and involvement of the local communities, which would involve some long overdue inventive thinking from the ineffectual, conservation bodies.

If this is how this organization looks after there so called jewel of Kwazulu-Natalís Conservation Service. I am afraid to say that wildlife, tourism and community development in this area of the country is going to be lost for good. I hereby urge every person who reads this article to put in writing their concerns down in writing and put pressure on this so called well oiled conservation body to step up to the plate and take responsibility for this pathetic excuse of management for this critically pressured area, by writing directly to the head of management of this area, at the following email address. [email protected] .
The time to act is now, after the increase in Rhino poaching, following, recent incidents in Rietvlei Dam Nature Reserve, Pilansberg National Parks, Hluluwe-imfolozi Game reserves, most of which have been linked to the Vietnenamese diplomats.
This land belongs to all of us if we let this slip we are as responsible as the Ezemvilo-KZN conservation Service, for their pathetically slack management of this so called natural wonder of ours.