Wild Tomorrow Fund South Africa (WTF) is dedicated to the protection of southern Africa’s threatened species and the habitats they depend on for survival.
Our partner protects, restores and rewilds high-biodiversity areas at risk of development, with a focus on connecting properties to create larger reserves and wildlife corridors. They also work with local communities, helping the people living around protected areas to value, benefit from and engage with conservation.
WTF was founded in 2015 by John Steward, a former advertising agency director who decided to swap the corporate world for conservation following a volunteering trip to South Africa. The South African not-for-profit that WLT has partnered with was registered a year later.
In his words, John wanted to “provide compassionate people around the world a way to make positive, long-lasting change for our planet’s threatened wildlife”. WTF have certainly made good on that goal by protecting 3,170 acres (1,283 ha) of habitat at their Greater Ukuwela Nature Reserve, which was successfully designated in June 2021.
World Land Trust (WLT) partnered with WTF in 2022 to support their creation of the Greater Ukuwela Nature Reserve. This wildlife corridor, located on the ‘Elephant Coast’ of South Africa’s northeastern KwaZulu-Natal Province, will connect the 69,000-acre (28,000 ha) MunYaWana Conservancy with the 820,000-acre (332,000 ha) iSimangaliso UNESCO World Heritage Wetland Park. Funding from WLT will secure 318 acres (129 ha) within the reserve.
By securing the gap between MunYaWana and iSimangaliso, WLT’s support for this project will help to create a single contiguous protected landscape stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Lebombo Mountains. Once earmarked for pineapple production, the vision for this vital corridor is to secure the genetic viability of the region’s wildlife, including populations of lion, leopard, elephant, cheetah, Painted Dog, and the Critically Endangered Black Rhino.
Greater Ukuwela Nature Reserve
The Greater Ukuwela Nature Reserve is located in an area globally recognised for its extensive biodiversity. It falls within both the Maputaland Centre for Plant Endemism and the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Biodiversity Hotspot. It is home to a mixture of woodland, grassland and wetland habitats, along with freshwater springs and forest interspersed with rivers, marshes and pans. It also includes remnant patches of the Dry Sand Forest, which is the most endangered forest ecosystem in South Africa and one of the rarest subtropical forests in the world.
Over 1,200 species have been recorded in the reserve, including the Giant Sansevieria plant which is classified as Critically Rare in South Africa. The corridor’s floodplains and wetlands will expand habitat for South Africa’s largest population of Hippo, as well as Nile Crocodile and 31 threatened bird species. The nearby community of Mduku utilise an unfenced floodplain section for fishing, cattle grazing, and reed and water collection.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, WTF delivered 480 food parcels which each fed a family of four for a month. Food continues to be provided to a smaller number of families, an orphanage, and the two rural community preschools that our partner supports.
So far they have contributed educational equipment, teacher stipends, daily school lunches for over 70 children, structural repairs to existing buildings, and the construction of a brand new school. WTF have also created jobs for the communities around their reserve, employing a field team of 14 women named the “Green Mambas” as well as 10 local rangers.
Additional conservation work supported by WTF includes:
- Satellite collaring to help monitor elephants, lions, Painted Dogs and Spotted Hyenas
- Dehorning Black and White Rhinos
- Removing tonnes of plastic left over from pineapple farming
- Providing uniforms and equipment for rangers in KwaZalu-Natal reserves
- Translocating 53 elephants from South Africa to Zinave National Park in Mozambique
General Manager: Greg Canning