A closer look at a South African conservancy experience

WILD ARK‘ AIMS TO RESTORE BIODIVERSITY AND BRING BACK THE WILDERNESS

(Posted 05th February 2017)

Corne Schalkwyk, a former Ugandan resident working at Marasa Africa, before returning to South Africa, got involved with a great conservation venture there worth telling.
Said Corne during a recent conversation: ‘The info below is related to one of the projects that have kept me busy since leaving Uganda. Its part of my EcoTraining projects‘.

Newly established conservation organization WildArk has announced the acquisition of its first wildlife conservancy, called Pridelands, in partnership with EcoTraining, Africa’s leading guide training organization, in South Africa.

WildArk ambassador and international rugby star David Pocock, will join Australian founders’ Mark and Sophie Hutchinson of Sydney and EcoTraining Managing Director Anton Lategan of South Africa, on the company’s first property, known as ‘Pridelands’ in the first week of February.

WildArk is committed to securing parts of identified green belts around the world and is working with leading environmental scientists to restore, manage and protect the rich biodiversity of these areas as a way of conserving wildlife.

At 4,500 acres, Pridelands, a former hunting farm, presents a magnificent example of intact vegetation of Combretum woodland.

“This is a fantastic step for our organization, and I’m incredibly proud to realise our first conservancy for African wildlife,” said WildArk founder Mark Hutchinson. “The partnership with our close colleagues at EcoTraining, will help build ecologically sound restoration of habitat, open another 4,500 acres into a greater conservancy that includes state owned, private and community areas, allow freedom of wildlife movement and provide local job creation. It is hopefully the first of many WildArk conservancies that adjoin existing networks of private, state or community-owned conservation areas.”

Lategan, a passionate advocate for conservation in Southern Africa, also realised a 20-year personal dream in the acquisition of Pridelands.

“Our desire is to restore the farm to migrational and residential wildlife such as lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo. The property already has general plains game, leopard and hyena — with excellent cheetah sightings and reports that lions came through the fence briefly!” Lategan said.

Anton’s father, John Lategan, has also come on board as a partner. John spent
his life farming in the Northern mountains and has been traveling the Lowveld his
entire life and has a depth of knowledge regarding the local ecology.

Pocock will spend early February on the property, engaging with owners

Hutchinson and Lategan on plans and experiencing the South African wilderness.

He will then head to his family farm in Zimbabwe where he will be involved in

various conservation and community projects.

“What excites me about WildArk is the bigger vision of trying to connect people to wilderness areas and to wildlife, as well as to provide a platform and vehicle to get people involved,” said Pocock. “I grew up wanting to identify every bird I saw and know what all the animals were. To provide a platform for people to do that and feel like they are contributing to other people learning and to the bigger story, that’s pretty exciting to me.”

WildArk and EcoTraining plan to develop ecotourism and education opportunities including an EcoTraining camp on Pridelands as well as engaging local school children to connect with nature through the property on a regular basis.

One of the key goals at WildArk is to make nature and wilderness areas accessible to anyone. Through its content hub for the wild, experiential learning and travel offerings, and its conservation partnerships, WildArk aims to allow anyone to become educated, engaged and involved in protecting our wild places.

More information about Pridelands will be released as plans are finalised.

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17 responses to this post.

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  11. […] Another great travel destination is the “EcoTracking 7 Day African Wilderness Experience.” This is the ultimate in wilderness immersion. It is operated by WildArk’s African partner, EcoTraining, led by expert Shangaan trackers. This experience will take you to remote wilderness areas in Botswana and South Africa. The Eco Tracker educates the traveler in many areas regarding the tracking of the animals, trailing, and showing you what techniques these animals use for survival in their wildlife habitat. If you are interested in learning and understanding African bush and how to track animals on foot, then you can book a trip, for the low cost of $1200 USD, which includes a total of seven days with tented accommodations and all meals. Learn more: https://wolfganghthome.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/a-closer-look-at-a-south-african-conservancy-experie… […]

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  12. […] Currently, there are three different destinations on the African continent within the countries of Kenya, Botswana, and South Africa. Otherwise, you could take a trip to the most barren and remote state in the U.S., otherwise known as Alaska. Each country provides an opportunity to help out conservation efforts or to enjoy the natural habitat found in areas that are still untainted by an increasingly industrial and urban developmental-oriented world. Learn more: https://wolfganghthome.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/a-closer-look-at-a-south-african-conservancy-experie… […]

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  14. […] Wild Ark is unique compared to many other similar organizations in that they offer field trips and excursions into the wild. They are conducted in a responsible way so as to not disturb or harm wildlife habitat. It could be called “Responsible Ecotourism” where participants get a close look at nature, learn and contribute towards the cause. Wild Ark has carefully picked some of the most popular destinations for participants who want to get close to nature, without damaging anything. Most of the popular destinations are in Africa, in countries such as Botswana and South Africa. Learn more: https://wolfganghthome.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/a-closer-look-at-a-south-african-conservancy-experie… […]

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