COVID-19 may not INFECT our wildlife, but it AFFECTS our wildlife.

The world has taken action to assist in reducing the spread of this untamed Covid-19 virus. Implementation of drastic measures such as travel bans and self-isolation has not only halted people's movement but has affected the world’s economy greatly.

On the 15th March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the South African nation to declare a national state of disaster and shared a number of measures being taken to combat the Covid-19 global pandemic. His statement not only brought about the conscious thought of the seriousness of this virus, it has shown strength in how we unite as a nation and also the willingness of our nation to make a difference.

Tourism has an important role to play in placing the South African economy on a sustainable inclusive growth trajectory. Tourism contributes on average 8% of the annual gross domestic product(GDP) of South Africa. Without the tourism sector, (in our case represented by both photographic tourism and limited ethical hunting activities), many of our wildlife areas would not exist today.

Tourists enjoying the beauty of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Photograph courtesy of Charlotte Cornwallis

In our recent blog, ‘Staying in the game – funding the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve’, we discussed the measures taken to keep the reserve running sustainably. One of the key contributors were, in fact, photographic tourists who were predicted to make up 62% of the income generated through the conservation levies in 2020. However, with the recent Corona pandemic, travel bans, and limited movement expected throughout the world, getting 21 700 feet through the Timbavati may be tougher than we expected.

Within the commercial sphere, over 1 000 jobs are created from these operations. Without a high turnover of guests, no lodge business operation could sustain the expense without income generation. We are encouraging guests who have booked with our lodges to not cancel, but rather to postpone their visit. This way, visiting the reserve can still assist us in carrying out our duties to protect and preserve the Timbavati’s wildlife and its people. To combat the potential shortfall in revenue, the reserve management has acted fast, limiting expenditure, freezing any new projects, and working with ‘limited reserves’.

Over 1 000 jobs are provided just within the TPNR through the wildlife economy. Photo courtesy of Tanda Tula lodge.
62% of the reserve revenue is from photographic tourism. Photos courtesy of Kambaku lodge.

Additionally, 10% of the TPNR’s annual revenue is donated to the Timbavati Foundation. This donation covers over 70% of the Foundation’s annual operating costs, giving back to our neighbouring communities. The reduced income for the TPNR has ultimately hit the the Foundation hard,  as forecasted donations will sadly not be possible where they were in previous years or until the reserves revenue streams recover.

The Timbavati Foundation is affiliated to 64 local schools who attend the Environmental School every year.

We have a number of active campaigns which you can support.  These donations will go a long way, not only to look after our magnificent wildlife reserve, but to look after the people who give so much back by protecting it, both inside and outside the reserve.

Here are a few of our recently launched campaigns:

Canine Rangers

The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve has five highly skilled and trained dogs. Help us keep these heroes active in the fight against wildlife poaching

Sustainable eco-pickets; Giving Greens

You can assist in supporting the overall health of our Field Rangers who work tirelessly to keep our wildlife protected.

Timbavati Foundation

Connecting communities to conservation by educating future generations to protect their natural resources & wildlife.

Message from the Warden of the Timbavati:

“COVID-19 has severely affected the reserve, it has influenced our very successful sustainability model, it has impacted on the livelihoods of people both within the reserve and those that surround it, it has created uncertainty, but it has not broken our spirit or our willingness to preserve our wildlife safe haven.  The sacrifices that many of the staff have made, to be on the reserve, away from their families during these difficult times, will stay with me forever.  I do not have the words to express my thanks and gratitude.”

So where to from here?

We encourage South Africans to abide by the lockdown regulations outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa, we all need to play a part in reducing the threat and spread of this virus.

Don’t cancel your trip, save our wildlife, save tourism, save our people, and rather postpone to a future date. Every foot through our gates makes a difference.

#staysafe, #stayhome, #notcancelpostpone #supportwildlife #supportpeople #timbavati #timbavatifoundation