Voice of WILD10
Day Three: Sunday, October 6, 2013
With such a jam-packed schedule full of challenging and wide-ranging panel presentations and riveting, foot-stomping, and poignant cultural events, it was hard to catch one’s breath as the days of the WILD10 Global Gathering swept by. With days one and two focusing on the planet and people, day three brought a focus on prosperity and initiatives to build new partnerships.
In the morning, the hall of delegates heard from speakers working to engage wild nature through conservation, communities and business. Several speakers from China spoke about a “tiger rewilding” effort, fishing cats in Thailand, climate, and protection of species through CITES. H.E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, President of Mozambique, reported on wilderness, international cooperation, and the role of peace parks. Dr. Ian McCallum and Lihle Mbokazi riveted the audience with a report from the Tracks of Giants expedition for conservation across Southern Africa.
Delegates were then electrified by the story-telling powers of environmental journalist George Monbiot, who made the case for a bold vision to restore European megafauna. Monbiot began his talk with the adaptations apparent in European trees today, due to the presence of elephants throughout the continent in prehistoric times. As usual, conversations over coffee and croissants during the morning break were spirited, with delegates making plans for new collaborations and enjoying reunions with colleagues last seen at WILD9 in Mexico. As delegates crowded back into the main auditorium, a new panel examined the role of private entrepreneurship, commercial finance and business models. After lunch, the discussions shifted to the role of hunting in wilderness sustainability, and then to community nature conservancies and their social benefits for local communities, with speakers from India, Namibia, Kenya, Mali and Scotland. Panelists made the case that nature-based societies are the basis for human health and prosperity, followed by presentations from a region in Kazakhstan known as the Serengeti of the North, and from the Carpathian Mountains.
Panels on the increasing pressures on and necessity for carefully guarded and managed protected areas and the importance of private lands to wilderness preceded a rousing closing session. At day’s end, the Global Gathering again honored the students who traveled the Trail to Salamanca, looked ahead to the World Parks Congress in 2014, summed up the discussions and achievements of the preceding three days, and looked ahead to the next day’s expeditions and adventures in natural and cultural Spain, and the three-day Global Forum.
(Jennifer Scarlott, Jennifer@sanctuaryasia.com)