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Wildlife Conservation: front of mind for Sanctuary Retreats.

November 27, 2019 Tour Operator No Comments Email Email

Sir David Attenborough recently posited the question, “Are we happy that our grandchildren may never see an elephant except in a picture book?”

And it’s a very real threat. Currently many of Africa’s most famous wildlife species are endangered, some of them critically, including cheetah, the black rhino and the African elephant.

Indeed, the need for conservation has never been greater, and luxury boutique safari operator, Sanctuary Retreats, is proud to partner in several programs striving to protect many of these remarkable creatures.

Rhino Conservation Project, Botswana

Given the widely regarded belief amongst many Asian cultures that powdered rhino horn is imbued with cure-all medicinal properties, ever-dwindling rhino populations throughout Africa continue to face existential threat from poachers. The recent sharp spike in poaching has been felt most keenly in South Africa where 1,255 rhinos were killed for their horns in 2014 alone, and it’s estimated that fewer than 29,000 rhinos now survive worldwide.

Several years ago, Sanctuary Retreats partnered with Rhino Conservation Botswana and the Botswana Defence Forces to translocate 20 rhinos from South Africa to the Moremi Reserve in Botswana. The game reserve was chosen primarily because it provided a suitable habitat, strong security, a restricted range and a proven existing monitoring capability. Since arriving at their new home in 2016, 24-hour surveillance has ensured these extraordinary creatures have been successfully protected from poachers. Even better, the initial population has swelled, following the birth of several baby rhinos over the last 18 months.

Having initially supported the construction of a number of large enclosures – bomas, strong enough to temporarily house rhino translocated to the region, Sanctuary Retreats’ aid now extends to the monitoring and protection of the animals in the Moremi Reserve where guests staying at Sanctuary Chief’s Camp can observe and learn about these unique animals thriving in their new home.

The Serengeti Cheetah Project, Tanzania

The Serengeti Cheetah Project was established over 30 years ago to help monitor the demographics of almost 80 cheetah in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Spanning some 30,000 km, the Park is one of the last remaining natural ecosystems where cheetahs exist in viable numbers.

Sanctuary Kusini, located within the Serengeti National Park, is a key supporter of the Serengeti Cheetah Project. The Camp sits directly in the path of the seasonal cheetah movement, making it the perfect spot for tracking and observing this iconic African big cat at close quarters.

Camp guests can participate in dedicated game drives, with the specific purpose of finding and identifying cheetah. Once spotted, guests are encouraged to photograph each cheetah sighting and leave copies, which are passed on to the Project’s research team to collate details. It’s an initiative which has proven overwhelmingly successful, with Kusini guests having provided almost one third of all recorded sightings since Sanctuary Retreats formed a partnership with the Project in 2009.

Elephant Outreach Program

An educational program targeting local Botswana youth, the International Elephant Foundation’s Elephant Outreach Program has been designed specifically to tackle and address the conflict between humans and one of Africa’s most majestic animals coexisting in the Okavango Delta.

Most children living in the Delta know elephants only as problem animals which trample their fields. In partnership with the program, Sanctuary Retreats is now providing local school children from villages near its Sanctuary Baines and Stanley’s Camps with an unparalleled opportunity to interact intimately with rescued two-semi habituated elephants – Jabu and Marula, during 2-day long excursions. The outcome? A new understanding and appreciation of elephant behaviour and the important role they play in the local ecosystem, with participants feeling more inspired to protect them going forward.

Guests staying at all of Sanctuary Retreats Lodges and Camps including Sanctuary Chiefs Camp, Sanctuary Baines Camp and Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp in Botswana and Sanctuary Kusini Camp in Tanzania, have an opportunity to support these and other Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy projects.

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