History in the making

PUBLISHED 25 OCT 2017   

Over the past decade, there has been a strong conservation push to reduce the number of fences between private reserves within the Greater Kruger National Park area and open the natural wildlife corridors within this biodiversity hotspot.

The GKNP refers to the over twenty private reserves to the west of the Kruger National Park (KNP) which add to the total Kruger reserve. In total, the whole area covers 2,000,000 hectares of unfenced, wild reserve with free movement of wildlife across this spectacular land.

The 28th of September 2017 will go down in the history books as a victory for conservation here in the Lowveld region of South Africa. On this day, almost exactly two weeks after the first bit of fence came down between WildArk’s Pridelands Conservancy, formerly a 4 500-acre game-hunting park, and the rest of the Greater Kruger wilderness, the first elephants crossed the boundary onto Pridelands

For the first time in over 60 years, elephants crossed the, now fence-less, boundary onto Pridelands. In a world where wildlife and wild places are facing ever increasing pressures and threats from humans, we can proudly say that on the 28th of September a piece of wilderness was given back to nature and the wildlife of Africa. Congratulations and thank you goes to Mark and Sophie Hutchinson, John and Anton Lategan and the whole WildArk team for their hard work in achieving this impressive goal. The elephants are exploring their new territory and have been spotted at various locations around the property, including the most southern boundary (they came in from the north), along with the fence line much to the delight of Hoedspruit residents as well as enjoying long drinks at Buffalo dam.

John Lategan, a shareholder in Pridelands, who has been working on the farm all year, was thrilled that the fences had commenced being dropped, he said;

“We set out on a mission this year to open up into Kruger and see elephant and lion roam here again for the first time in over half a century. It was a great event seeing both sides of the fence turn up for what was a celebration of a common goal of many residents of Hoedspruit, to see an ever expanding natural ecosystem thrive right on our doorstep.”