Every year there is a new theme for World Wildlife Day, ensuring that light is shed on an array of important topics.
This year’s theme was something we hold close to our heart, “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and the Planet“. Although our scope of actual forest habitat is limited on Londolozi – we are predominantly woodland savanna – we felt the message was further reaching than simply applying to the dominant fauna.
Londolozi has always strived to be so much more than just a safari destination, more than just a place of luxury, but rather an experience that creates a ripple effect. A ripple effect which weaves its way into the livelihoods of people, the wilderness that surrounds us and the wildlife that calls it home.
Many guests leave their safari having gained a far deeper appreciation of the importance of wild places, not only for the soul but especially for the people who live on their fringes. Africa abounds with natural beauty, yet the economy of wildlife is a fragile one, dependent upon a synergy between visitors, the protection of wilderness areas, and the emotional investment of the communities that border them. We’ve been asked many times over the years exactly what benefits a single safari bestows upon the greater area, so we decided to work it out:
Every guest who chooses to visit us at Londolozi ultimately allows us to employ 280 breadwinners who in turn support over 2800 dependents on a daily basis. Many of our staff are selected for annual training programmes that are designed to promote self-improvement and individual advancement within the industry. The supply chain economy, including daily transportation of staff from their private homes to the reserve, as well as the provision of numerous other logistical services, results in a further injection of $4 million annually into the local economy.
We reach, through the Londolozi Social Investment Program, in excess of 26 500 learners who are enrolled at the Good Work Foundation Satellite Learning Centres, located in the villages around the reserve. This innovative programme leads the world in providing effective and relevant education at the remarkable cost of $0.25 per teaching hour. The programme is so successful that it is now the subject of a Stanford University Research Project and may well become the guiding principles for innovative learning programmes in other emerging countries in the world. For each night you stay at Londolozi you contribute to the employment and welfare of 5 employees, 8 dependants and the protection of 6 rhino. Furthermore, on average 8 children and 1 adult received access to digital world class education as a result of your visit. We all sincerely appreciate your patronage and support.
CREATING SAFE HAVENS
Modern day conservation requires the creation of a Safe Haven where the free movement of animals, safe from hostile human incursions, is made possible. This has been achieved at Londolozi by the deployment of dedicated field rangers who provide vigilant protection of the reserves’ boarders, fence lines and gates.
They are supported daily by the use of modern technology such as aerial surveillance, which acts as a force-multiplier to assist them to effectively protect the reserve. This collaborative effort has almost entirely eliminated Rhino poaching in the reserve and Londolozi is now regarded as one of the most secure Safe Havens for wildlife in Africa.
Ultimately, the human narrative is a crucial one to focus on in the ongoing discussion about the fate of our planet’s wildlife, if not the crucial one.
Whether we want to acknowledge it our not, our survival as a species is inextricably linked to – and in many cases, entirely dependent on – the survival of our wild kin and the areas they inhabit. By pretending we are two separate and unrelated things is shying away from what binds us to this planet in the first place. We are all carbon-based life forms, we breathe the same air; we are all earthlings, in the broader sense of the word.
Although World Wildlife Day 2021 shines a light specifically on those living in and alongside forested areas, it’s important to remember that the ideas and initiatives it promotes pertain to any ecosystem where there is a potential for human-wildlife conflict.
The better we can combine ancient wisdom and traditional practices with modern technology to ensure sustainable solutions for habitats in jeopardy, the less we will actually need events like World Wildlife Day to remind us of the necessity…