From ochre-stained cave walls depicting elegant, long-necked eland, to the intricately crafted sculpture of a rhinoceros in Gold, to the flock of tourists snapping away at a herd of elephants in the Kruger, one thing is for certain: humans have and
continue to be captivated and inspired by animals and the natural world.
For over a century, big businesses and advertising companies have capitalised on this idea, using images and footage of animals to draw in consumers and establish trust in their brands. Lacoste. Puma. Bacardi. Ferrari. What do all these widely
recognised brands have in common? Using animals in their iconic logos. And who can blame them when studies show that animals are one of the most effective leveraging tools in the advertising industry, able to significantly impact and influence
our emotions and behaviour.
It’s no secret that the private sector gains big profits from the commodification of biodiversity; however, no compensation or support is given to the animals and wild spaces helping to generate their success. Animal rights groups and advocates have been banging on about these inequalities for decades with little success so why is this the breaking point? What has changed? Well, for starters…everything.
The global pandemic has had an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives and business as usual is a thing of the past. Many industries have been left devastated in its wake and wildlife conservation has suffered immensely. African wildlife
conservation which has historically been funded predominately by international aid, local government funding and wildlife-based tourism was already facing considerable challenges long before covid-19. The compounding effects of international travel restrictions and focuses shifting to the global humanitarian crises, could create a perfect storm of reduced funding and shut down a large proportion of conservation operations. This could cause irreparable damage to conservation efforts and place African biodiversity on the brink.
Now more than ever, there is a call for corporations that derive profit from wildlife to intervene and provide some kind of relief. The good news is that this has already started happening. New organisations and initiatives are starting to emerge,
providing crucial support and creating bold new solutions to save our wildlife andwildlands.
The Lion’s Share Fund is one such initiative shining a light on the way forward. This unique initiative aims to encourage greater private sector investment in biodiversity conservation. Founded in September 2018, The Lion’s Share Fund is a platform led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) along with multiple partners which asks companies to donate a small percentage (0.5%) of the media spent on advertising campaigns featuring images or footage of animals (real life or animated), to the Fund. These funds are then reallocated to various wildlife conservation and
animal welfare projects and initiatives around the world. For example, supporting anti-poaching efforts in the Niassa National Reserve, Mozambique.
Some of the biggest global brands including Cartier and Gucci have climbed on board and support for the initiative is quickly growing. The Lion’s Share Fund has the ambitious goal of reaching over $100 million each year which it has been successful in achieving thus far. It is initiatives like these that are building a sustainable path for the future of African biodiversity.
Mangweni Private Game Reserve supports this initiative and others like it that are
making a concerted effort to save our valuable biodiversity. Here at Mangweni we
like to keep a close eye on the latest trends in conservation.