n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Conservation crime : South African concerns and considerations from a criminological perspective

Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



South Africa as a developing country currently faces challenges in many areas not the least of which is crime and criminality. Rampant crime is arguably one of the higher profile and more daunting issues with which the South African government is wrestling as it struggles to balance societal, cultural and economic aspirations and development with environmental and biodiversity sustainability. Although crime in its various guises intersects the lives of many citizens on a daily basis, concurrently engendering a widespread condemnation thereof, the burgeoning and surreptitious phenomenon of crime in the natural resource arena (conservation crime) unfortunately does not share the same level of significance. Due to amongst others, deficient media attention and prejudice, the incidence and magnitude of conservation crime and its ramifications are largely inhibited leading to public apathy and a skewed perception of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Crimes in the natural resource ambit subsequently garner considerably less public censure albeit that such wrongdoings impact negatively on the well-being of the biosphere and ultimately humankind's very existence. This paper identifies and explores three vital conservation crime management impediments, namely terminology / semantics, regulation and education that are further stymieing holistic and sustainable natural resource conservation efforts in South Africa. This treatise will argue that these issues are inextricably linked to the realisation of biodiversity and sustainability goals and ultimately, the gaining or regaining of control over natural resource destiny in the environmental conservation landscape. By addressing these issues it is submitted that viable medium to long term proactive intervention mechanisms can be devised and initiated to gravitate towards a holistic and sustainable conservation management approach in the spirit of intergenerational environmental equity.

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