Travel might be on hold, but that has not stopped these conservation champions from continuing their much-needed work across the globe. While the coronavirus seems to be taking over the world, these Ker & Downey partners are proof that conservation still matters and that forces of good will always prevail.
Caiman Ecological Refuge
Did you know that Brazil’s Pantanal region is the largest wetland plain on the planet with a surface area bigger than the whole of England? This corner of the world is home to 80% of the world’s jaguars as well as nearly 100 species of mammals, many on the verge of extinction. Despite a massive fire that tore through the Pantanal in the autumn of 2019 and the wide-reaching effects of the coronavirus in 2020, the incredible team at Onçafari remains committed to preserving and rebuilding a safe space for jaguars, with the ultimate goal of reintroducing them into the wild. The project operates within the 130,000-acre expanse of the Caiman Ecological Refuge. Part cattle farm and part ecotourism lodge, Caiman Ecological Refuge boasts two independent accommodations. Through this ecotourism arm, Onçafari has been able to bring visitors as close as possible to Pantanal’s majestic big cats. While guests may not be able to visit at the moment, rest assured their good work continues to serve as a pioneer for wildlife conservation in Latin America through science, education, and re-wilding efforts. A male jaguar was recently released into Argentina’s Iberá wetlands in partnership with Tompkins Conservation.
South Africa might currently be on lockdown, but that has not stopped Jabulani from continuing its essential work in caring for their resident elephants in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The camp’s operations ensure the safety, care, and provisions for the 15 elephants and 30 caretakers onsite. Jabulani also directly funded a new elephant orphanage, HERD. Even in the midst of a pandemic, looking after the Jabulani elephants remains their first priority. This includes Khanyisa, a recently rescued albino elephant calf.
Encompassing 15 luxury lodges and camps across four countries in Africa, Singita has become synonymous with flourishing ecosystems and healthy animal populations. That is primarily because anti-poaching units are constantly on the prowl to keep the illegal wildlife trade at bay. In the era of COVID-19, that work does not – and cannot – stop. No guests mean no game drives, which means more potential for poaching. That is why the guides of Singita have opted to not shelter in place and instead take on additional patrolling responsibilities. Likewise, they have started a daily livestream of virtual game drives on Facebook and Instagram. Their efforts inspire by reminding travelers of the importance of wildlife conservation, even in our current isolated climate.