After visiting the first 5 wetlands in South Africa during November 2014, there are already observations that can be classified as common to wetlands in South Africa:
Complex land ownership, increasing pressure for agricultural and urban development, and declining numbers of birds and other animal life.
The entities responsible for managing and maintaining these wetlands are facing huge challenges. There are too few knowledgeable, skilled, and enthusiastic officials, and they all have extensive and demanding daily tasks. The Department of Environment Affairs who are overall responsible for implementing the Ramsar convention, is far removed with a clumsy infrastructure – "too many Chiefs and too few Indians". For local communities, each with its own fight for survival, the protection of wetlands is not their number 1 priority.
Increasing sustainable eco-tourism around wetlands could play a role to reconcile these apparent fighting groups. It could create additional job opportunities and additional income for struggling farming activities. With more people/tourists providing eyes at ground level, applying and monitoring the Ramsar convention could be improved.
Follow the previous posts about the Ramsar wetlands with the links to the right, or scroll down.