CONSERVATION

Assegaai Conservancy

African Safari Lodge is set on an active game farm, which forms part of the Assegaai Conservancy, an association of landowners, most of whom are members of WRSA or Wild Life Ranching South Africa, which promotes the conservation of our wildlife and encourages the ethical management of wildlife. We have permanently employed game guards, who patrol for snares, remove snares and engage in various anti-poaching iniatives. The Assegaai Conservancy conservation ethic is one of sustainable utilization, and the protection of species that have been on the brink of extinction, such as the disease free Cape Buffalo, and the Bontebok Antelope, which abound at African Safari Lodge. Sustainable utilization was the conservation ethic of the famed Dr. Ian Player, who founded the Wilderness Foundation, and who was responsible for the saving of the Southern White Rhino from Extinction.

Sustainable utilization begins with the conservation of the soil, water and plant life, in order to have healthy animals, one has to have healthy soil, water and plants.

Conservation of Nature

Sadly in the absence of prime predators which maintained the balance of mother nature, between plant and animal life, man now has to intervene and manage animal numbers. This is because man has ended the ability of animals to self regulate their numbers through predation and migration, by removing prime predators, and by confining animals to small isolated areas of habitat, and if animal numbers were not managed, the animals would simply continue breeding and increasing in number until they overgrazed and destroyed their habitat and themselves

An Endangered (EN) species is a species which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as likely to become extinct. “Endangered” is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations in the IUCN’s schema after Critically Endangered (CR).

The conservation status of a species indicates the likelihood that it will become extinct. Many factors are considered when assessing the conservation status of a species; e.g., such statistics as the number remaining, the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, or known threats. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the best-known worldwide conservation status listing and ranking system. The list of endangered species in South Africa includes, but is not limited to, the following animals:

List of Endangered Species

Fauna & Flora

Spekboom

“PortulacariaAfra” or Elephant Food Occurs widespread in the Eastern Cape as well as in the eastern regions of the Western Cape. It is indigenous and flourishes in drier regions, but is very adaptable in areas with more rain. Propagation is easy when cuttings are used. The Spekboom is evergreen and reaches a height of about 2.5m. The stem, which can reach a diameter of 20cm, has a corklike appearance.

The bright green fleshy leaves have an egg like shape. As the tree ages the colour turn yellowish. The English name, Elephant Food, originates from the habit of elephants to eat the top shoots of the “trees”, causing the plants to grow and spread horizontally.

Spekboom has an exceptional ability to take big quantities of carbon dioxide out of the air and convert it oxygen. Ongoing research shows that 1ha of Spekboom can covert carbon dioxide to an average of 4.2t of oxygen per year. This makes South Africa very popular on the international carbon dioxide sequestration commercial market

Wild Fig Tree

Ficus sansibarica (Wild Fig) A large tree with a spreading crown, up to 20 x 30 m. It may grow as an ordinary, stand-alone tree or a strangler; if it does that, it usually starts life in the branches of a host plant, sending down aerial roots that encircle the tree and finally kill it so that it stands alone.

The knobbly fig is generally evergreen but may be partially deciduous during drought. It is usually without aerial roots, and contains milky latex. The bark is grey to dark grey, smooth, uneven and does not peel off. The main stem is usually short, forming branches low down and bearing numerous unbranched fruiting spurs.

The branches are slightly flaking and hairless. The fruits are 40 mm, hairless, and dark purple with yellow-green dots when ripe, and are borne singly or up to four in a cluster. The fruits are edible but unpleasant.

Family Activity

African Safari Lodge provides an opportunity for guests to engage in conservation as a family or group. There are several invasive species on the property which requires eradication. An activity can be pre-booked to spend a morning to understand and remove some of these invasive species such as black wattle, prickly pear, jointed cactus etc.

In the afternoon the family or group can then assist in the eradication process by planting ‘good’ trees such as spekboom, olive trees, plum trees, wild fig, etc. This will provide the family or group with valuable information on the eradication process in the area and give them an opportunity to make a difference in the eco system through the planting of the good, indigenous species.

Every tree planted by a family will be a recognised family donation and retain a unique place with associated GPS points in the Family Tree Book of Record. Future visits will include the viewing of the growth of the tree.