In protected areas such as Lapalala, building and maintaining fences plays an important role in securing the wildlife within our boundary.
The Lapalala fence team works hard to ensure that our boundary remains intact and up to industry standards at all times.
During a daily patrol, our fence team discovered a hole in the fence along the reserve’s northern boundary. It is suspected that buffalo had purposefully opened the hole to cross over into a neighbouring property. Buffalo are known to break fences to access grazing or water, or to join a herd. Fortunately the property belongs to Lapalala, although it is not yet incorporated into the main reserve.
Our fence team repaired the hole by anchoring the fence to Y-standards so that it cannot be raised from the ground. This particular hole was found in an area that was easy to access. Sometimes our team has to carry out repairs in difficult terrain, but they always rise to the challenge with dedicated determination.
GIRAFFE CAUGHT IN SNARE
Poaching is a heart-breaking reality in Africa, and the Lapalala veterinary team had first-hand experience of the scourge this month. The team successfully removed a snare from around the foot of a giraffe that was trapped on one of our properties outside the reserve.
Snares are often just simple, homemade, wire traps with a loop of wire (noose) tied to nearby branches, usually along a game path. The snare is positioned so that a passing animal is caught in the noose, which tightens as the animal struggles to pull itself free. Old snares, or snares that fall to the ground, are a danger to animals of every size, including giraffe.
Lapalala is in the process of acquiring various properties surrounding the reserve. Our security teams are constantly present on these new properties, so it is likely that this was an old snare which had already been laid on the property. Nonetheless, we have made it a priority to thoroughly scan and remove any old snares on the new properties before connecting them to our main reserve.
Lapalala reached a historic milestone this month, as we were declared a nature reserve in terms of section 23(3) of the National Protected Areas Act, no. 57 of 2003.
We comply with a number of fundamental criteria that identify Lapalala as an area worthy of this declaration. We have, for example, been identified as a key area for the protection of both black and white rhinoceros, and our conservation mandate has been recognised as a long-term, sustainable model. Our increasing contribution towards the economic development of the region, as well as the initiatives that benefit our local communities, also played a vital role in the process.
The proclamation is a significant step in ensuring that Lapalala will be protected and conserved for generations to come.
Lapalala recently welcomed two male rhino orphans onto the reserve. The calves were orphaned in poaching-related incidents in 2018, and had spent almost two years in a nearby rhino orphanage.
The calves were of similar age when they arrived at the orphanage (12 months and 16 months). The rhino orphanage aims to minimise human contact so that the orphans stand a better chance of being successfully released into the wild. These two young males were perfect company for each other and soon became inseparable.
The translocation to Lapalala went smoothly, and the animals will be closely monitored for the next few months. We are confident that they will adapt to their surroundings and new-found status as wild rhino.
LAPALALA WELCOMES NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Lapalala is delighted to announce that Glenn Phillips has been appointed as our new chief executive. Glenn joins us after a 17-year career at SANParks, the last five of which he spent as head of the Kruger National Park.
His wealth of experience, energy and vision make him the ideal person to lead the Lapalala team as we embark on a new and exciting chapter. We are thrilled that he has chosen to join us, and look forward to working with Glenn to build on the solid foundation that has been laid at Lapalala. We extend a warm welcome to Glenn and wish him much success in his new role.
Conservation can only be meaningful to our neighbouring communities if they are invested in our activities. For this reason, the Lapalala Wilderness Foundation is on a quest to visit and connect with the people who live around our reserve.
The Foundation is involved in a number of initiatives that support our local communities. These projects include skills development to help them in their efforts to conserve biodiversity, and the hosting of soccer tournaments and traditional dances. These events give us a chance to engage with our local people and build mutual trust, in the hope that they will empower and remind each other to protect and care for the environment.