‘Conservation should be something that not only protects land and animals, but also benefits people’ – this understanding expressed by Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership University, talks to the power of our integrated approach to Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife and Care of the People.
Our Vision 2020 Care of the Wildlife goals centre on the protection of four endangered species (both land and marine), the active support of wildlife conservation education and, where we have full control of the land, the active management of the wildlife population and conservancy land to maintain biodiversity. Impact partnerships and collaborations have been a key element of our successes in this regard.
These conservation endeavours work hand in hand with a wide range of community development projects, creating meaningful benefits for neighbouring rural communities.
The instrumental role of Phinda
In 1991, &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve (KwaZulu Natal) was an area of 13 076 hectares (32 311 acres) of land reclaimed by &Beyond (then known as Conservation Corporation) for the reintroduction of wildlife.
Today, Phinda is part of the Mun-Ya-Wana Conservancy: 28 622 hectares (70 672 acres) of protected land and wildlife that is actively managed by our Phinda Conservation Team. This is where the fundamental concepts related to our Care of the Land, Wildlife and People have been put to the test and shaped into a powerful, far-reaching Impact Model.
Protection of four endangered species
A cornerstone of &Beyond’s Care of the Wildlife strategy is the preservation of endangered species through conservation (of the species and the land on which they exist), translocations and breeding programmes. In securing them, the health and biodiversity of an ecosystem is assured.
A strong foundation of research and dedicated monitoring has been instrumental to the protection of four species we are actively safeguarding.
Our selected species:
White rhino were the first endangered species to be reintroduced to our Phinda reserve in 1991 where they have flourished to the extent that the African Rhino Specialist Group now considers this to be one of South Africa’s most important white rhino reserves.
- 77 white rhino translocated from the Phinda reserve to develop other game reserve populations
- 87 rhino translocated to a safe haven in Botswana as part of our collaborative Rhinos Without Borders project
- 39 rhino calves born to the Botswana Rhinos Without Borders group since 2005
- 30 black rhino calves conceived on the Phinda reserve since the start of the WWF-Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP) in 2004
Aders’ duiker and suni antelope
&Beyond Mnemba Island has been identified as safe space to create breeding nuclei with the aim of diversifying and increasing the populations of these endangered little antelope – here they are both protected on the island and there are no natural predators.
- 5 Aders’ duiker (Africa’s rarest antelope) introduced in 2005
- 35 Aders’ duiker (Africa’s rarest antelope) from this initial breeding group
- 6 rare suni antelope introduced in 1993
- 250 suni from this initial breeding nucleus moved to 13 sites throughout Zanzibar
Phinda’s cheetah population has been classified as the most important on fenced reserves in Southern Africa (excluding the Kruger National Park). The data collected from this intensively monitored and researched population has provided invaluable learnings.
- 15 cheetah were reintroduced on the Phinda reserve between 1992 and 1994
- Over 150 cubs born on the reserve in the years following
- 53 animals relocated to restock or develop other South African game reserves
As an iconic species, sea turtles are integral to marine biodiversity. Our island conservation teams are involved in a programme of on-going research and education dedicated to the protection of two highly threatened turtle species: the hawksbill and the green turtle.
Research and education:
- &Beyond Mnemba and Vamizi Islands: monitoring of migration patterns, nest activity and hatching detail for research and comparative reference purposes
- Protection of nesting areas through the active monitoring of sand movement; nest mapping and relocation in those areas prone to flooding
- Ongoing conservation education and engagement with local communities and fishermen regarding the value of turtles to marine and beach ecosystems
Active management of land and wildlife
Where we have full control of the land – as in the case of the Mun-Ya-Wana Conservancy which incorporates &Beyond Phinda – we are able to actively manage the land and wildlife under our custodianship.
The conservation systems and procedures used have influenced the protection of a number of threatened species of animals and plants, and in many cases, have set the standards for best operating practices.
- The Mun-Ya-Wana Conservancy Spotted Hyena Project was fundamental to the IUCN listing of this species as ‘Near Threatened’ in Southern Africa
- Following on the Panthera Mun-Ya-Wana Leopard Project, the continued monitoring of leopard populations through camera trapping surveys continues to guide our Phinda team in large carnivore management
- An effective programme of alien plant species management has set the benchmark for operating practices in other reserves
- The reserve is a founding member of the Lion Management Forum of South Africa (LiMF), which aims to promote the best practice in lion management and conservation in Southern Africa
- Elephant capture methodologies, without the use of specialilsed equipment, have been pioneered on the reserve
The simple truth is that if the adults and children living in the rural communities neighbouring our protected wilderness areas are inspired to conserve and protect these precious resources, then these places have a fighting chance of survival.
Our conservation lessons are aimed not only to educate, but also to create a deeper awareness of the interdependence between preserving this biodiversity and the meaningful community benefits that come hand in hand with conservation.
- East Africa: 1 827 lessons
- &Beyond Indian Ocean Islands: 1 593 lessons
- Botswana: 300 lessons
- Namibia: 64 learners
- South Africa: 1 272 learners; 163 teachers
Oceans Without Borders (OWB)
In 2018, with our &Beyond footprint now extending to &Beyond Benguerra and Vamizi Islands (Mozambique) and &Beyond Mnemba Island (Zanzibar), we launched our Oceans Without Borders marine conservation initiative together with Africa Foundation, our community development partner.
The vision and objectives of OWB are a natural extension of our core impact model i.e.
- Care of the Land (Ocean)
- Care of the Wildlife (Iconic marine species)
- Care of the People (Island communities)