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Nature lovers are in an uproar over the devastation caused by the illegal felling of indigenous trees near Sodwana Bay, within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site.
The felling has occurred along the wetland park’s access road
The devastation has been attributed to local communities who have been seen cutting down the trees with chainsaws, opening up patches of forest, and burning around the access road to the park and along the edge of Lake Ngoboseleni.
‘If this does not stop now we will have no mangroves left,’ said one angry resident.
Another Sodwana Bay resident said the practice of felling indigenous trees within the bounds of the wetland park has occurred for many years.
It is alleged that the culprits sell the wood for firewood to passing trade.
Illegal felling has reportedly been ongoing for many years
The resident said the tree felling was carried out covertly, but now the natural forest appears to have become a free-for-all.
‘No matter where the boundaries are, it is illegal to fell a natural forest.
‘Huge areas are on the south of Lake Ngobeseleni, smack inside iSimangaliso World Heritage Site.’
The resident said the issue has been reported to the wetland park authority numerous times over the years, but nothing has changed.
Devastation within the Sodwana Bay natural forest
According to the resident, a large swathe of the forest within iSimangaliso’s boundaries was two weeks ago burned by local communities who are allegedly unhappy with iSimangaliso.
The ZO attempted to obtain a statement from iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority but none was forthcoming.