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26 Years of Conservation Victories

July 19, 2017 Tour Operator No Comments Email Email

Last year, luxury travel operator &Beyond celebrated 25 years since the company was formed to demonstrate that a financially sound, conservation-based tourism operator could make a significant contribution to protecting the environment while also promoting sustainable community development.

Since its inception, &Beyond has believed that, by definition, responsible travel should not only positively impact the land and its wildlife, but also the people who live in and around wildlife areas. From the company’s greater conservation model to the minutest details of its daily activities, every decision made revolves around its core ethos of Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People. “

 

These intrinsic values have become a part of the way that the company operates and, increasingly, are part of the reason why guests find their travel experience with &Beyond so rewarding,” explains &Beyond CEO Joss Kent.

Over the past 26 years, this pioneering model of ecotourism has allowed the company to rack up an impressive array of conservation coups.

  1. &Beyond contributes to the protection of almost 4 million hectares (over 9 million acres) of land under wildlife conservation.
  2. &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve encompasses 28 555 hectares (70 560 acres) of re-established wilderness land. This once degraded farmland is now one of the world’s most renowned Big Five game reserves. Phinda is home to cheetah, elephant and lion populations of national significance and has the biggest private herd of nyala in the world. Phinda also houses a multitude of other species, some rare, others endangered, including all members of the Big Five.
  3. &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park was the first three-way partnership between a private organisation (&Beyond), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) SA and the state-run South African National Parks Trust in 1990. In terms of the agreement, &Beyond leases the Ngala land and, in return, pays a portion of its turnover to the SANParks Trust for use in expanding the national parks network.
  4. Between 2002 and 2012, 72 leopards at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve were radio collared and satellite tracked, with their movements and interactions documented. The research findings have led to the reduction of leopard trophy hunting in the region, as well as to an increase in Phinda’s leopard population.
  5. A joint initiative between &Beyond and Great Plains Conservation, Rhinos Without Borders has safely translocated 37 endangered rhino from high-risk poaching areas in South Africa to the relative safe haven of Botswana.
  6. Over 500 teachers and 7 000 community children has been hosted on Conservation Lessons in the reserves where &Beyond operates.
  7. The Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Black Rhino Range Expansion Project selected Phinda as its first release site in 2004. Today, Phinda is renowned  for having a population of both black and white rhino that is considered of national importance.
  8. &Beyond staff protect and monitor green turtles at Mnemba Island, one of only two protected nesting sites for the species in Zanzibar. Each year an average of 38 nests are laid on the island, with more than 100 hatchlings born per nest.
  9. &Beyond negotiated the formation of the Mnemba Island Marine Conservation Area, which protects the waters around the island.
  10. A breeding project for the endangered suni is being run at &Beyond Mnemba Island, with the little antelope doing so well that more than 300 individuals have been relocated to Jozani Forest on Zanzibar Island, greatly enhancing the species’ status at Jozani. The remaining suni at Mnemba continue to prosper, breeding twice a year in some cases.
  11. In 2006 five Aders’ duiker were introduced to &Beyond Mnemba Island. Since then, the population of this, the rarest antelope species in Africa, has increased to approximately 35. The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates there are only 300 to 600 Aders’ duiker remaining in the wild.
  12. Every year, the &Beyond Mnemba Island Lodge team hosts marine conservation lessons for 80 schoolchildren from mainland Zanzibar.
  13. The monitoring of endangered wattled crane and other threatened birds at &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge and &Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp in Botswana has helped guides to understand the population dynamics and ecological requirements of wetland-dependent species.
  14. Elephant research and pioneering contraception helps to maintain sustainable elephant numbers at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve without the need for culling.
  15. As part of research into the symbiotic relationship between lion and hyena at &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp a select group of animals were fitted with GPS collars to collect data on their movements and interaction.
  16. In 1998 ten lions were donated from &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve to the Mpumalanga Parks Board for relocation to Mthethomusha Game Reserve.
  17. In 2015 five lionesses were donated from &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve for translocation to Rwanda’s Akagera National Park as part of an African Parks project, which helped to successfully reverse a 20-year local extinction of the species. Earlier this year, one of these lionesses gave birth to the first cubs born in Rwanda in nearly two decades.
  18. In 2011, &Beyond assisted in the groundbreaking mass translocation of 50 gaur (Indian wild cattle) from Kanha National Park to Bandhavgarh National Park in India, the first successful mass translocation in the country. This population, which helped restored the species to Bandhavgarh, has now grown to more than 100.
  19. &Beyond’s conservation teams continue to protect and monitor the rhino populations in our reserves across East and Southern Africa on a daily basis.
  20. Supported by an on-site conservation team for more than ten years, the careful preservation of the reefs surrounding &Beyond Vamizi Island has led to one of the dive sites accessed from the island, Neptune’s Arm, being recognised as one of the top scuba sites in the world.
  21. &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge has participated in a programme to combat an invasive alien weed, salvinia molesta, which threatened the marine life and diversity of the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  22. A groundbreaking quarantine programme at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve turned the reserve into a major source of TB-free buffalo, with more than a thousand animals relocated to other reserves.
  23. So little is known about the coconut crab (the world’s biggest land crab) that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists their conservation status as data deficient. &Beyond Mnemba Island has a small but stable population of these enormous crabs and has hosted researchers from Sweden’s Gothenburg University, who conducted a study of the coconut crabs there and at nearby Chumbe Island, the first of its kind to be conducted in Africa.
  24. Conservation has been a strong driver at &Beyond Vamizi Island even before its six luxury villas were opened, with a conservation team on site since 2005. Home to one of the world’s great marine archipelagos, this entire area is under threat. Along with the Vamizi conservation team, &Beyond uses its influence and expertise to protect it, focusing on reef conservation and on creating safe migratory routes for the endangered species that travel this coastline, from turtles to humpback whales.
  25. &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve was the first to re-introduce adult elephants into a juvenile herd, ultimately re-establishing social normality for orphaned elephants.

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