Meet Wildlife ACT’s Manager of our Human-Wildlife Coexistence Programme and Applied Research Coordinator, Peter Jean (PJ) Roberts. After studying Marine Biology at the University of Cape Town, PJ joined Wildlife ACT in 2016 and is a highly valuable member of the team.
Where to find me:
All over Zululand, but I live in Pongola Game Reserve.
Why I do this:
Endangered and iconic species such as Hyaena, Leopard and Vultures traverse far beyond the confines of protected areas. This has potential for conflict, threats to livelihoods and threats to survival of these species. By working with conservationists and communities outside of protected areas, we can ensure much of this conflict is mitigated, and the threats to these species in this space is minimised and these species have the necessary space to move effectively for genetic dispersal.
Why conserving our endangered wildlife species is important:
Endangered and iconic species conservation holds great value in retaining functioning ecosystems and creating awareness around biodiversity conservation. In addition, like any great piece of artwork, wonder of the world, or brilliant piece of music, we would be much poorer as a species if we were to lose these things on our watch, never to be appreciated by others in the future.
My favourite thing about the place where I work/live:
The pockets of natural beauty, deep valleys, thick bush and raging rivers that make up the greater Zululand landscape.
My favourite animal:
African Wild Dog
My favourite bush memory:
The first visual I ever had of the 14 Wild Dog pups from the first Wild Dog pack I ever monitored on the uMkhuze Section of iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Number one bush living survival hack:
Keep a Leatherman handy!
A message from PJ to our supporters and followers:
Wildlife Conservation is complex and multi-faceted. Solutions are not always simple, and sometimes the reality can be hard to face, especially when one is removed from the challenges faced by communities and conservations on the ground.
Always ask yourself, “Is there perhaps something I don’t understand in this situation”, before criticising the decisions and efforts being made to conserve what remains of our natural heritage. But also make sure that decision makers remain accountable for their actions!
Meet more of the Wildlife ACT Team: