When living in Mozambique we drove a couple of times to Swaziland (from 2018 renamed Eswatini) to spend time in its national parks. Among these, we visited the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary where we spent some time walking as there are no dangerous animals, except crocodiles as the following sign warns.
Checking the waters edge, we did find a couple of large crocodiles and another sign that was rather confusing.
Usually wildlife has right of way but to prohibit members of the plant kingdom is baffling! I wish to believe that there is a missing line in the sign that should have said “Removal of …”
After this surprise, I Googled for a definition of the word wildlife and what I found both in the Oxford and Webster online dictionaries was very similar: “Animals, birds, insects, etc. that are wild and live in a natural environment” and “living things and especially mammals, birds, and fishes that are neither human nor domesticated” respectively! So, it seems that plants and trees are not part of wildlife!
But things do not end here! In 2020, Carly Cowell (1) of the Kew Gardens highlighted our inability to recognise plants as wildlife known as “plant blindness” and discussed the consequences of this for the conservation of the plant kingdom!
Interestingly, confusion between members of the animal kingdom also seems to exist as this sign from Hwange National Park shows:
I believe that the intention was to repace the word “mammals” for “animals” to make the message clearer to all visitors of the potential negative impact of such practice!