Leon Marshall

Old African Fortress Inspires New Deal

South Africa’s Mapungubwe National Park is no stranger to controversy. In a new twist, the enigmatic reserve is to get paid for having a mining company dig for coal a short distance from its boundary. Mapungubwe National Park on ...

Nelson Mandela and the Power of Forgiveness

South Africans, and with them many the world over, are mourning the passing of the father of the all-race democracy that came to be known as the “New South Africa”. Children grueved at the loss of their favorite grandfather. It ...

South Africa Regroups in War on Rhino Horn Poachers

The audience sat in stunned silence on hearing the announcement that, with five months to go, South Africa’s rhino-poaching toll for 2013 had already shot well past the 500 mark. The occasion was a meeting in Johannesburg where stakeholders were taking ...

Worsening Rhino war Strains Countries’ Relations




The growing incursion of rhino poachers from Mozambique into South Africa’s flagship Kruger National Park is beginning to strain relations between the two countries. South African security operatives trying to stem the relentless killing of the enigmatic animals speak ...

Shellfish Poaching Fuels Illicit Economy in South Africa

The four occupants of the skiff waved merrily as they bounced their way back to shore. Some of the tourists on board our shark cage diving boat waved back, but the skipper stared fixedly ahead. “Abalone poachers,” he muttered. The ...

Is Tourism Good for South Africa’s Great White Sharks?

Gansbaai, South Africa — Sharks have taken a big hand in the fortunes of this fishing village on the southernmost coast of Africa. Fishing used to be the lifeblood of Gansbaai (meaning Goose Bay), and to an extent it still is. ...

Record 443 Rhinos Killed by Poachers in South Africa in 2011

It has been a bad year for rhinos in South Africa. Many more got killed than in 2010, the 333 toll of which was described with words like “shocking” and “outrageous”. Most thought it couldn’t get worse. It’s got much ...

Durban Plan for Climate Treaty Greeted With Mixed Feelings

The COP17 round of climate negotiations in Durban has once again shown just how hard it is to devise a cohesive international response to this threatening phenomenon. It is for this reason that the conference’s agreement to sign up ...

Durban Climate Talks to Aim for Pragmatic Results

The annual United Nations meeting to assess progress in dealing with climate change convenes in Durban, South Africa, next week. The meeting is known formally as the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on ...

Five African Nations Sign Up for Conservation Zone the Size of California

Five southern African countries have signed into place the region’s biggest and most ambitious transfrontier conservation project yet. It covers a sparsely populated region of 444,000 square kilometers (171,429 square miles; slightly larger than California) that comprises some of the most ...

South African Court Jails Rhino Horn Smugglers

A South African court effectively threw away the key when it jailed two smugglers convicted of trying to smuggle rhino horns out of the country. But the slaughter of the country’s pachyderms for  the spurious healing power of their ...

South Africa’s Rhino Slaughter Rages on

  The shadow of rhino poaching keeps darkening the magnificent landscape that places South Africa among the most biodiverse countries in the world. Already the figure for the year so far stands at about 200 rhinos killed. This has conservationists fearing ...

South Africa’s Enigmatic Big Cats Under Growing Threat

Leopard and cheetah are two of southern Africa’s most enigmatic cat species. But both are under growing threat from livestock farmers, trophy hunters and both the legal and illegal trade in wildlife species. Now conservationists are pushing for tighter ...