Conservation Symposium


The Conversation Symposium 2023

Online & at the Wild Coast Sun Hotel

Port Edward
South Africa

The Conservation Symposium brings together practitioners, scientists, and policymakers. It promotes interdisciplinary connections and showcases impactful research.  This year's theme is the Biodiversity Economy. Click here for more information on the conference.

AWEI at TSC 2023

We hosted a one-day special session on Africa's Wildlife Economy on Tue 07 Nov 2023. In-person participants will be able to join in a dedicated room. Others joined online. 

Videos of the day are available below.


Africa’s Wildlife Economy

Special session at TCS 2023 - Tuesday, 07 November 2023

The aim of this special session was to present and discuss current research on a few key topics relevant to enabling and scaling up Africa’s wildlife economy. 

The international policy context for the wildlife economy is set out in Target 9 of the Global Biodiversity Framework:

“Ensure that the management and use of wild species are sustainable, thereby providing social, economic and environmental benefits for people, especially those in vulnerable situations and those most dependent on biodiversity, including through sustainable biodiversity-based activities, products and services that enhance biodiversity, and protecting and encouraging customary sustainable use by indigenous peoples and local communities.”

08:30 – 09:45 

Welcome & Keynotes 

Co-chairs: Dr Francis Vorhies (online) & Ms Tembisa Jordaan (in person)

Ms Lactitia Tshitwamulomoni, Wildlife Economy Director, South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment

South Africa's wildlife economy - New developments

Mr Farayi Mtondoro, Researcher/ Coordinator, African Institute of Environmental Law        

Zimbabwe's biodiversity economy report - Policy opportunities 

09:45 – 11:00

Workshop 1 – Developing the wild meat sector in Africa 

Chairs: Dr Wiseman Ndlovu (online) & Ms Tembisa Jordaan (in person)

In support of the decisions of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity on wild meat, this workshop will explore barriers and opportunities to developing a sustainable wild meat sector across Africa.

Mr Greg Martindale, Director, Conservation Outcomes

Development of new income streams for protected areas: The role of game meat value chains      

Dr Maretha van der Merwe, Deputy Director Environmental Health Services, City of Tshwane

The health control of game meat intended for the local consumer market and the application of current and prospective health and hygiene regulatory parameters

Mr Lindokuhle Khumalo, PhD Candidate, University of Oslo

Understanding the emerging game meat value chain in South Africa

11:00 – 11:30 Tea break

11:30 – 13:00 

Workshop 2 – Promoting intra Africa wildlife tourism

Chairs: Dr Taddeo Rusoke (online) and Ms Tembisa Jordaan (in person)

Tourism is a key use of wildlife across Africa generating revenues for protected areas, creating jobs, and contributing to economic development. This includes photographic tourism, hunting and fishing tourism, and nature-based adventure tourism. This workshop will is a start of discussion on the potential for increasing the market for intra Africa wildlife tourism. 

Prof Joseph Mbaiwa, AWEI Fellow and Director, Okavango Research Institute       Saving Botswana’s wildlife from Batswana: The trophy hunting ban and eco-colonialism in Botswana



Prof Peet Van Der Merwe, Tourism Management, North-West University            
How much do hunters spend in South Africa?


Mr Ochan Denis Odong & Mr Talibita Moses, Lecturers, Nkumba University           
Leveraging on the AfCFTA to promote intra-Africa wildlife tourism

Ms Sheillah Munsabe, Coordinator, Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network              
Wildlife friendly tourism standards and certification: Enabling conservation of endangered species and sustainable tourism 

plus discussion

13:00 – 14:15

Lunch break

14:15 – 15:30 

Workshop 3 – Liberalising trade in wildlife products

Chairs: Dr Hayley Clements (online) and Ms Tembisa Jordaan (in person)

Within the framework of the AfCFTA and the responsibility of governments to ensure that exports of products from endangered wild species are non-detrimental to the species survival, this workshop will explore the potential to promote the international trade of wildlife products particularly within Africa 

Dr Jeanetta Selier, Senior Scientist, South African National Biodiversity Institute   
Lessons learned from South Africa’s wildlife economy

Dr Francis Vorhies, AWEI Director, Stellenbosch University             
Rewilding Africa through wildlife enterprise 

Dr Biandri Joubert, AWEI Fellow and Postdoc Fellow, University of the Witwatersrand
Critical next steps for expanding intra-African trade in wild meat   

Dr Howard Hendricks, GM: Policy & Governance, SANParks 
African wildlife economy - closer to reality

15:30 – 16:00

Tea break

16:00 – 17:00

Panel discussion - Scaling up wildlife enterprise

Chairs: Dr Wiseman Ndlovu (online) and Ms Tembisa Jordaan (in person)

The panel will provide an opportunity to reflect on the workshops and explore next steps.

Dr Hayley Clements, AWEI Senior Researcher, Stellenbosch University 

Mr Greg Martindale, Director, Conservation Outcomes 

Prof Joseph Mbaiwa, AWEI Fellow and Director, Okavango Research Institute 

Dr Taddeo Rusoke, AWEI Fellow and Lecturer, Nkumba University

More info

For in-person participants, the special session will take place in the Amadiba room at the Wild Coast Hotel.