James Stevenson-Hamilton, the first warden of South Africa’s Sabi Nature Reserve, was quoted as saying: “…few can sojourn long within the unspoiled wilderness of a game sanctuary, surrounded on all sides by its confiding animals, without absorbing its atmosphere; the Spirit of the Wild is quick to assert supremacy, and no man of any sensibility can resist her.”
Despite the challenges it faces, South Africa remains one of the most beautiful countries in the world thanks to its unsurpassed natural beauty and prolific wildlife.
Our wildlife, however, is becoming increasingly vulnerable, having to contend not only with extreme weather conditions but the brutality of man as well. Thankfully, our most vulnerable biota has been blessed with a number of guardian angels who fight tooth and nail to conserve our nation’s most invaluable gems. One such a custodian is the Endangered Wildlife Trust who, together with altruistic volunteers, aims to conserve threatened species and ecosystems to the benefit of all people.
One such a volunteer is Rowan Ferreira, whose immeasurable passion and dedication are being put to good use in the conservation of both African Wild Dogs and Rhinos. Rowan, whose family is in the retail business, resides in Hoedspruit in the Limpopo province. Like many other parts of our beautiful country, Hoedspruit depends largely on nature-based tourism as it not only creates jobs and investment opportunities but utilizes rural areas and supports the employment of women as well.
People fly from all over the world to come and experience the proud natural heritage and rich biodiversity of the region.
Unfortunately, the poaching and snaring of animals wound everyone. It is even more distressing when it is happening right on your doorstep. This is when you get involved and conservation starts to pump through your veins. When asking him about his reason for getting involved in conservation, Rowan responded: “If we lose our Rhinos, Wild Dogs and Lions we lose a part of ourselves and what do we then offer the world? I still want our future generations to see Rhinos, African Wild Dogs and other endangered species roaming free in the wild.”
Rowan got involved with both the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Program and Grant Fowlds and Kinsley Holgate’s Project Rhino. The purpose of the Carnivore Conservation Program is to prevent the extinction of carnivores in South Africa by growing packs & spots, preserving free-roaming carnivores, and empowering communities to help conserve the country’s most vulnerable wildlife. This project was particularly appealing to Rowan as he has an enormous passion for the African Wild Dog. Project Rhino, on the other hand, is an awareness and education project that runs in conjunction with the renowned explorer and humanitarian, Kinsley Holgate.
When asked whether he is getting involved in conservation from a business perspective as well, Rowan very proudly proclaimed: “We are making Conservation part of our brand story and so should other businesses as it affects us all in one form or another.”
The landscapes of South Africa are alive with the heartbeats of millions of magnificent animals – their very fragile existence at our complete mercy. Without the likes of the EWT and Rowan Ferreira, future generations may never get to experience the astounding beauty of our world first-hand.