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Waleaf Advancing in Fight for Wildlife Corridors

WALEAF Wildlife Corridor George Herald

“Wildlife corridors in the Wilderness area are under immense pressure and are being gradually destroyed as a result of development and alien invasive vegetation, but ongoing efforts of the Touw River Conservancy (TRC) and Wilderness and Lakes Environmental Action Forum (Waleaf) to turn the tide around are bearing fruit.

For one, a new by-law was passed by George Municipality in 2023 to limit the fencing of properties in the rural landscape in order to reduce the blocking of corridors and restriction of wildlife movement.

This by-law was a direct result of Waleaf continually lobbying the municipality.

Speaking at a meeting hosted by SaveWild last week, Waleaf chairperson Melissa Dalton said the by-law determines that a property owner may not fence the entire perimeter of their property, only around the development footprint.”

Click here to read the full article in the George Herald.

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Collaborating for Nature

The Touw River Conservancy (TRC) is a local conservation body focused on increased conservation efforts on private and municipal property in the Greater Wilderness Area. Much of their volunteer efforts in conservation are geared towards clearing invasive vegetation as a first level priority step in any rehabilitation or reforestation process. Clearing invasive trees is a labour intensive process and a labour of love by the TRC team who put their own time and effort into it.

The TRC has been clearing a site in Wilderness Heights which has been identified as one of many vital corridors for wildlife in the area, most of which are shrinking as a result of rising higher density development in the area and overrun by non-indigenous invasive vegetation. This site used to be an old cattle dip for the farmers many years ago, but neglected from disuse as farms were subdivided into smallholdings. It become heavily infested with pine, wattle gum, bugweed, to name a few of the highly invasive non-indigenous species dominating the competition for space and water.

In 2022, the TRC joined the George Municipality’s Adopt-a-Spot program whereby it has undertaken to continue to clear, maintain and rehabilitate the site – now recognised as a heritage site in the Garden Route. When Precious Tree Project was donated funds by the Wilderness Ratepayers and Residents Association (WRRA) and George Tourism as part of the Wilderness Centenary and Beautification Project, we allocated the funds towards planting out in a mini-forest pocket on the site.

Since many of the leaves of indigenous trees are a vital food source for many of the wildlife species in the area, irrespective of the age of the tree, we got creative in our tree protection methods structures giving the trees time to take root and ground themselves.

A big round of applause to the TRC and its committee members involved in the rehabilitation of this site and for all those local community members who joined in and gave a helping hand on the day.

Click here if you would like to sponsor an indigenous South African forest tree towards our wildlife corridors in the Garden Route OR visit www.payfast.co.za/donate/go/precioustreeproject.

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A New Rehabilitation Story – Eastbrook Wildlife Biodiversity Corridor

eastbrook wildlife biodiversity corridor precious tree project

Our rehabilitation & assisted reforestation efforts are targeted at existing identified as well as potential new wildlife corridors spanning the area between Wilderness and Sedgefield. We have now added a third wildlife corridor rehabilitation project into our Projects portfolio – the Eastbrook Wildlife Corridor, in Karatara.

The corridor passes through a number of privately owned pieces of property, so buy in and collaboration with landowners is key. The corridor is significant as it runs between the Karatara and Hoegekraal Rivers, giving wildlife access to vital water sources that are often cut off as a result of impenetrable or electrified fences erected around property boundaries.

A big thank you to Chrissy Bosman for recognizing the need to restore biodiversity, protect and rehabilitate the wildlife corridors in her area, as well as for her commitment to helping us achieve our own long term vision.

Click here if you would like to sponsor an indigenous South African forest tree towards our wildlife corridors in the Garden Route – OR – visit www.payfast.co.za/donate/go/precioustreeproject to make a donation.

Check out the YouTube video below!

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Expanding the Wildlife Corridors

PTP Shamboh Wildlife Corridor - Expanding the Wildlife Corridors

One of the incredible benefits of planting out bio-mimicked forest patches and assisting the reforestation process of the indigenous forests in the Garden Route region is the value this brings to our wildlife, particularly i.t.o assisting their survival rates.  As one of the few natural forest biomes in South Africa, our Garden Route forests are home to many species of our four-legged wildlife:  the region is a well-known haven to the Knysna elephant, rooikat, leopard, bushbuck, vervet monkeys, porcupines, baboons, etc. Not to mention the bird, reptile and insect populations that thrive when the forests are healthy. A haven is more than a safe space for our circulating wildlife, it is also a fundamental ongoing source of food for them, from the forest trees themselves and from the forest floors.

Factors including the rapid increase of human activity and development in the area, climate change, the uncontrolled spread of highly invasive non-indigenous trees (which themselves compete for water amongst themselves) all have had a negative impact on our local forests – and therefore on the territory in which our wildlife naturally roam, breed and feed.

Re-establishing and protecting wildlife corridors is a key component of our reforestation efforts and between April and August this year, in slow, regulated lockdown-motion, we got stuck in with small groups of volunteers at a time and took on the task of rehabilitating a site that is regularly traversed by troops of baboons, vervet monkeys, by bushbuck, porcupines and a rooikat. The task is one of both clearing the invasive wattle and blackwood trees that have infiltrated the site from the neighbouring state owned property and then planting out a range of endemic tree species in the spaces that were cleared. And so the assisted reforestation and natural regeneration of the forest floors begin …

Thank you to all donors for their contributions that make projects like this possible  – we planted out over 100 precious trees to grow the wildlife corridor, which included outeniqua yellowwood, boekenhout, forest elder, cape chestnut, cape beech and keurbooms.

And thank you to all our enthusiastic VIP’s who pitched in (as and when regulations allowed) and got their hands dirty!  A much needed grounding reconnection to mother earth in a year when being outdoors and in nature has been sorely needed!

If you would like to support our ongoing efforts of assisted regeneration of our forest biome, click here to sponsor trees!