Celebrating World Wildlife Day Around the World
Updated: Apr 6
Ahead of World Wildlife Day on March 3rd, here are some inspiring initiatives from destinations around the world who are working hard to preserve their unique local wildlife.
Rhino Relocation at Singita
The Grumeti Fund, Singita’s non-profit conservation partner in Tanzania, recently celebrated the birth of a black rhino calf – the first in the region in decades. This calf’s birth represents the culmination of years of hard work, strategic partnerships and the technical ability to successfully relocate black rhino over long distances to new habitats.
In 2019, the Grumeti Fund, in partnership with government stakeholders – primarily the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) – translocated a breeding nucleus of rhino from an out-of-range population in South Africa.
Following an arduous journey in crates, trucks and airplanes, nine black rhino arrived safely in Tanzania in September 2019. After a few months acclimatizing in rhino bomas (enclosures), they were successfully released in November 2019. Lindiwe - meaning “awaited” - one of the females relocated from South Africa, has given birth to her first calf in June 2020, and the pair are thriving under the watchful eye of the aerial and ground teams.
Elephant Rehab Program — Shambala Private Game Reserve
Nestled below the ancient Waterberg mountains lies the almost 10,000 hectares of pristine African bushveld that is Shambala Private Game Reserve, offering safari experiences and intimate close encounters with magnificent African wildlife. Shambala Private Game Reserve is actively involved in wildlife conservation with their main objective being to maintain the most favorable natural conditions for wildlife to thrive. Shambala features an elephant rehabilitation program to help domesticated safari elephants return successfully to the wild. African elephants roam across much of Africa, but these magnificent animals remain under severe threat from poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict. The introduction back into wild rehab process involves careful monitoring of the elephants, who have previously been used to considerable human interaction. Doctors and elephant experts are also involved to ensure the success of the program, and research is carried out to document the team’s data and to share with others. Shambala also gives guests the opportunity to experience some of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife while working on a team expedition to complete projects that are designed to improve life for all the species on the reserve.
Blue Footed Boobies on the Galapagos Islands
There is no better place to experience rare animal sightings than the magnificent Galapagos Islands. The islands are full of a variety of birds, marine life and other species found no where else in the world. A famous Galapagos staple, the blue-footed booby has a name that says it all - this breed of bird is easily identified by their bright blue feet. Found exclusively on the islands, visitors can expect to spot chicks in a number of locations, such as on Española and Isabela.
The best way to explore the islands and view blue-footed boobies up close is by joining a Quasar Expeditions sailing. Quasar offers one-of-a-kind cruises on their recently renovated yachts, the M/V Evolution and the M/Y Grace, allowing guests to spot the islands' amazing animals through hiking, snorkeling and kayaking. During a trip, guests can also expect to see sea lions, giant tortoises, Galapagos penguins, and Darwin's famous finches - all in their natural habitats.
Proboscis Monkeys on Borneo
The rare and unique proboscis monkey, also known as the long-nosed monkey, roam freely in the jungles on the island of Borneo. The endangered species is protected by law in all regions of Borneo and is mostly found in mangrove forests and on the coastal areas of the island. At Gaya Island Resort, set within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, proboscis monkey preservation is at the heart of their Gaya Island Resort Wildlife Centre program. At the wildlife centre, the resort’s Resident Naturalist leads programs to preserve the island’s endangered proboscis monkeys, research and rescue wildlife species and create nature trails around the island.
During a visit to the resort, guests can spot a few of the rainforest's 100 monkeys in their natural habitat while on the property's Proboscis Monkey Jungle Trail and observation platform, as they learn about the rescue programs. Other exotic animals that can be seen by guests at Gaya Island include turtles, boobook owls, bearded pigs, red giant flying squirrels, and more.
Turtle Sanctuary at Fregate Island Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Fregate Island is a luxury hideaway as well as a conservation sanctuary. Guests of Fregate Island are encouraged to participate in the hands-on conservation experiences such as assisting in turtle hatchlings, cultivating sea coral, and visiting the island’s bird sanctuary. Currently, it is Hawksbill Turtle season at Fregate with 133 Hawksbill Turtles visiting in December alone, laying 172 nests on the Grande Anse beach. The conservation team at Fregate has tagged 91 individual turtles so far this mating season. In the 2019/20 mating season, over 940 Hawksbill turtles visited the shores of Fregate, releasing 3,300 babies back into the Indian Ocean.
Tswalu is unique in that it has a foundation dedicated to research. Most conservation companies and initiatives base their conservation work on third party research while Tswalu does it themselves. So research informs every conservation decision taken, and is a vital part of what Tswalu is all about.
Hence, guests are encouraged to interact and learn with scientists and doctoral students in the field. For example, guests can join pangolin researcher and KEEP’s project manager Wendy Panaino (who you met in New York) during her field studies, which often happen in the middle of the night most pangolins are nocturnal. Here is more information about the research.
Another opportunity for a hands-on (of better hands-off) experience is the thermal ecology of Cape cobras research project. This study also falls under the Kalahari Endangered Ecosystem Project (KEEP), which looks at the responses of Kalahari organisms to climate change. Here is some more information about the research and the scientist Thilo Beck.