Breaking Barriers: Conservation & Tourism In African Wilderness

Kruger Park in South Africa is the embodiment of the idea of wild Africa. This century-old game reserve is vast, at nearly 20,000 square kilometers. And with more that 6 diverse ecosystems with in its sprawling landscape, Kruger is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. The famed Big Five of Africa (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino) call this reserve their home, along with innumerable smaller animals, birds and insects. Learn more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/03/25/the-last-21-km-of-fenceline-between-david-pocock-and-his-wildest_a_21884731/

 

 

Located on the northern borders of South Africa, the reserve lies adjacent to similar wildlife preserves in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It is a part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park created in 2003 by the three nations through a joint agreement. The massive peace park transcends the borders between these three countries and gives a great boost to wildlife protection and conservation. Learn more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/10/20/mick-fanning-the-conservationist-first-look-at-his-expedition-t/

With the removal of border fences, animal herds can now freely migrate between the countries. The net positive effects of such a move is already evident within South Africa, where there are numerous private game reserves outside parks like Kruger. Since 1993, the fences between these parks and Kruger have been steadily removed, resulting in free movement of big animals, a flourishing of their populations and increase in tourism revenues.

 

 

But there is still scope for improvement, more fences to be torn down. And a small initiative by a bunch of private individuals are doing their bit for the greater good. Wild Ark is a conservation organization founded by an Australian couple, Mark and Sophie Hutchinson. Following their lifelong passion for nature, wildlife and adventure tourism, the duo purchased a 4500 acre property on the borders of Kruger.

 

 

The Pridelands property, an erstwhile buffalo hunting reserve, is now the home of the Hutchinson family and their young children. And it is one of the focus areas of their Wild Ark initiative, which seeks to promote conservation and sustainable wildlife tourism. Wild Ark plans to extend the range of the greater Kruger reserve to include the Pridelands property. Their restoration of the nature reserve is currently progressing with the support of the local community.