WILDLANDS recently had the privilege of hosting Empowers Africa on a conservation management learning journey at Somkhanda Community Game Reserve. Empowers Africa has given the reserve loyal support over the years through the lion introduction that took place last year, enabling the expansion of lion range into an area that hasn’t seen lion for over 100 years.
Empowers Africa, a U.S based organisation known for supporting programmes around human empowerment, wildlife protection and land conservation, were one of the first organisations to raise their hands in support of Somkhanda.
During the visit that took place this past weekend, they supported conservation activities including the fitting of new satellite tracking collars to the dominant elephant bulls, the loosening of the lion tracking collars and the dehorning of both black and white rhino, to protect and conserve our wildlife.
The Empowers group included their trustees and donors as well as a group of youth representatives, and for some this was their first visit to South Africa. “South Africa is a wonderful country and we believe is a leader in the conservation field. It was a privilege for us to be able to share our love for the country and the incredible conservation work being done with a new group of donors, including a youth delegation that were all inspired by the experience. We are committed to supporting the incredible vision and efforts of the Gumbi community, as they continue to develop Somkhanda into a world class conservation success and destination,” added Krista Krieger, Empowers Africa Executive Director and Chairperson.
“The weekend on Somkhanda was a resounding success as we were able to fit tracking collars onto two black rhino, one white rhino, two elephant bulls and three lions, as well as trim the rhinos’ horns. To achieve these impressive results in two short days requires cooperation and coordination between multiple conservation organizations, donors and experts, and the ongoing partnership between WILDLANDS, Empowers Africa, Somkhanda and Wildlife ACT is a great example of how strong partnerships can achieve outcomes that enable the protection of a host of critically important species,” Thandiwe Knutson, Zululand Operations Manager.
“Somkhanda is a community game reserve that relies heavily on the support of the conservation community to enable the management and protection of their rhino, lion and elephant. Without the support of organisations such as Empowers Africa and not forgetting our partners in conservation, Wildlife ACT, the reserve would not be a home of the big 5. Through their support the community would also not be able to secure meaningful eco-tourism partnerships. Their support is invaluable and will leave a lasting conservation legacy,” concluded Dr Andrew Venter, WILDTRUST CEO.