THE RACE TO SAVE WHAT'S LEFT
“The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive.” E. O. Wilson
Habitat loss is perhaps the biggest threat to the future of our planet's wildlife. Populations of wild animals have dramatically shrunk due to the disappearance of wild spaces. We face the extinction of 1 million species in our lifetimes.
But there is still hope.
The solution to the extinction crisis lies in the expansion of natural habitats in threatened wild places. We must enlarge and protect the spaces devoted to the natural world in order to save the amazing variety of life on our planet, called biodiversity. Wild Tomorrow Fund is working to protect strategically chosen land that can be rehabilitated and reconnected to expand habitat for threatened wildlife.
The race is on to conserve these spaces before they are lost for nature forever.
— OUR HABITAT CONSERVATION PROJECT –
SAVING THE SOUTH BANK
Imagine a herd of elephants wading across the river in the African midday sun. For the first time in decades they realize they can access the river and the lush habitat on the opposite side. The fence that had stopped them before is now gone. One by one they cross the river to investigate this land that the elders remember calling home.
This scenario is now one step closer to becoming a reality.
To date, Wild Tomorrow Fund has protected over 2,250 acres in KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. This land, which was at risk from development, is situated along the south bank of the Msinene River, a perennial tributary that flows into iSimingaliso Wetland Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and it is located in one of the world's 36 recognized biodiversity hotspots.
In 2017 we acquired 1,250 acres along the Msinene, and began our first habitat protection project—the Ukuwela Conservancy. We are now well along in rehabilitating and re-wilding this richly bio-diverse area, home to 44 mammal species (and counting) including leopard, spotted hyena, serval, the threatened suni antelope, the four-toed sengi as well as 270 bird species included the endangered martial eagle and two vulture species. This list is ever-expanding, as we continue our biodiversity surveys and restore this habitat, allowing the full richness of wildlife to return.
In May 2019, we added another 1,171 acres of new habitat under our protection, called the Mfuleni Conservancy. By protecting this corridor of land, Wild Tomorrow Fund is preserving the ability to expand and reconnect two existing protected areas: the 73,900 acre Mun-Ya-Wana Conservancy and the 886,000 acre iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the largest estuary system in Africa, home to South Africa's largest hippo population and over 500 bird species.
Protecting and connecting existing large-scale wildlife reserves not only increases the total available habitat for the wildlife of both reserves, but also increases the total carrying capacity, meaning the elephants and lions and other animals that need large spaces, can increase in population size.
The Mfuleni Conservancy is unique — home to a critically endangered dry forest type, while its river and water-filled delta provides an important freshwater source for wildlife. Access to water is increasingly important for the future of wildlife, providing added resiliency in an uncertain, climate-changed future. The Conservancy land also creates a protective buffer along the Msinene River for neighboring iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Having achieved our immediate goal of saving this wild habitat from the threat of development, we are now focused on rewilding so we can join it with the Mun-Ya-Wana Conservancy, thereby expanding the habitat and populations of wildlife which includes elephant, critically endangered black rhinoceros, cheetah and other vulnerable species who share their ecosystem.
Read the press release here.