FOREWORD FROM: Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife by David Mabunda, Chief Executive Officer

Dear Colleagues and Delegates

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 2015 Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice. This is the fourth year that Ezemvelo and its Partners have hosted the Symposium in its current form, and I am particularly pleased to be able to be here with you this year.

There are many challenges facing conservation currently, and this Symposium offers an opportunity for the conservation community to share information and discuss solutions to critical issues. Its stated aims are to promote partnerships between government agencies, conservation authorities, non-governmental organisations, legal practitioners, communicators and other relevant professionals and stakeholders. I note that we are making progress towards this goal, in that this gathering has grown steadily in both the numbers of delegates and organisations attending, but also in the scope and depth of the content of the programme. It is clear that there is a niche a conservation symposium that covers the full context of the practice of management of our natural assets, and not only the science that is needed to underpin the management decisions.

One of the key challenges is that of communication of information and knowledge in a way that enables decision-makers to act decisively and galvanises action amongst stakeholders. I am heartened to see therefore that this year’s symposium theme is “Communication for Conservation” and that a significant component of the programme is devoted to, or guided by, sessions and presentations that will no doubt help unlock the flow of information and its uptake and use.

The programme also contains bold sessions that will confront and allow for balanced consideration of some of the most controversial contemporary wildlife management and utilisation issues, such as so-called canned lion hunting, as well as throw a spotlight on serious problems such as illegal trade and rhino poaching.

I look forward to all the presentations, the sharing of knowledge and approaches, and in taking part in some of the debates. Further, I anticipate the emergence of key messages and outcomes that will be carried forward with renewed and inspired communication mechanisms!

I thank you all for joining us and wish you an interesting and productive meeting.

Dr David Mabunda

Chief Executive Officer

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife