WLT launches Spring Appeal: Connecting Ukuwela SEARCH NEWS

This spring, you can help Wild Tomorrow secure Sisonke Farm and connect the Greater Ukuwela Nature Reserve

Across Southern Africa, dozens of iconic species such as Critically Endangered Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis), are struggling to maintain their numbers. With agriculture and unsustainable development fragmenting so much of their habitat, some may even face extinction in the next decade. By supporting our new appeal: Connecting Ukuwela, you can help give these species the space they urgently need to recover their numbers— don’t let these legendary species become myths.

South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal is renowned for its abundance of lush, flora-covered hills and plains, so much so that it is known nationally as the ‘Garden Province’. However, over the last century, monoculture pineapple farms and eucalyptus plantations have splintered the once wide-open landscape and isolated its wildlife.

But there is hope…

Thanks to organisations like our partner Wild Tomorrow, land is being restored and transformed into refuges such as the Greater Ukuwela Nature Reserve (GUNR). An oasis of grassland, wetlands, and subtropical forests, the reserve is brimming with over 1,200 species. Nestled at the heart of a global biodiversity hotspot, the reserve is part of a vibrant landscape of protected areas, forming a vital corridor for some of Southern Africa’s most charismatic and threatened wildlife. This spring, Wild Tomorrow has an opportunity to secure Sisonke Farm— the link that will connect the GUNR. With your help, Sisonke will expand the reserve, connecting its east and west sections, and restore connectivity to this restored landscape.

By supporting this appeal, you can help:

  • Safeguard the habitats and wildlife of Sisonke
  • Expand the GUNR and create more space for the reserve’s current wildlife and future new introductions
  • Restore a wildlife corridor across South Africa

Our fundraising efforts will enable Wild Tomorrow to purchase 148.5 ha of the 296 ha Sisonke Farm property to bridge the gap in the GUNR. Significant support has already been secured from generous supporters, but we now need your help to reach the project target of £621k. The first £50,000 donated will be matched by one of those generous supporters, meaning that your donation would be doubled and a £10 donation will be worth £20 towards this incredible project.

A line of Plains Zebra in their natural habitat looking towards the camera

Within the GUNR, Zebra (Equus quagga) and Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) race across the grassy plains, while Hippo (Pelusios rhodesianus) and Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) bask in the wetlands. Credit: Chantelle Melzer

Bridging the Gap

In Zulu, Ukuwela means ‘to crossover’ and the reserve is just that— a crossover point between two larger national parks to the North and South, allowing wildlife to roam freely across hundreds of kilometres. Sisonke means ‘to bridge’ and, by securing it, Wild Tomorrow will not only transform the GUNR into a continuous corridor but will also create an unbroken pathway from the Lebombo Mountains all the way to the Indian Ocean.

The benefits of this connectivity will extend far across the region. Large, roaming herbivores like Black Rhino and African Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta africana) will have the space they need, far from poachers and trophy hunters, to move throughout their large home ranges. It will allow carnivores such as Lion (Panthera leo), Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) to follow their prey without resorting to hunting livestock and encountering human-wildlife conflict. With this freedom of movement, species will be able to mix and create the genetic diversity essential to healthy populations, as well as outpace the increasing seasonal floods and forest fires worsened each year by climate change.

Along with Antelope and Wildebeest, the GUNR’s teeming biodiversity includes 416 species of bird that forage and hunt in the bushveld. Credit: Chantelle Melzer

The Heart of Zululand

Wild Tomorrow is proud to be a majority Zulu organisation. Its close ties to the local community are strengthened through the rangers who spend their days safeguarding the reserve and its wildlife. The reserve is also maintained by Wild Tomorrow’s field team of local women, the Green Mambas. Trained in everything from restoring the remnant patches of ancient Dry Sand Forest to removing invasive plant species, the Green Mambas can support their families by preserving nature that will be experienced by their children’s children.

By supporting our appeal, you can help Wild Tomorrow connect the GUNR and see the incredible changes nature can make when given the time and space to rewild itself.


Donate now to our appeal: Connecting Ukuwela to create space for nature in KwaZulu-Natal

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