Conservation | 12 October 2017
Kwandwe - Rebirth of an African Wilderness Part 2
It has once again become home to thousands of animals which freely roam the Valley Thicket including lion, cheetah, elephant, buffalo; threatened species such as Black and White Rhino, the Knysna Woodpecker, Cape Grysbok, Black Wildebeest, Crowned Eagle, Black Footed Cat and South Africa’s national bird the endangered Blue Crane, from which the reserve gets its name – ‘Kwandwe’ means ‘Place of the Blue Crane’ in Xhosa.
Meanwhile, wildlife such as the Greater Kudu and Cape Grysbok which were already in existence when the reserve was formed, along with smaller creatures such as Aardwolf, Aardvark and Caracal became free from persecution at the hands of stock farmers and today are thriving.Further still, Kwandwe also affords protection to a variety of birds - The Knysna Turaco (known locally as the Knysna Loerie), Bokmakierie, Southern-Black Korhaan, Black Harrier, Malachite Sunbird, Eastern Clapper Lark, and South African Shellduck - all endemic species that are also seen regularly here.
The responsibility of the custodianship of 22,000 hectares of land has never been taken lightly, not least the on-going role the owners have had to play in the improvement of the habitat and the care of the surrounding communities.Before the arrival of the first cheetah in 2000, it’s sobering to know that the last two cheetah in the area were killed in 1888. And so the enormous responsibility of undertaking to reinstate threatened and endangered wildlife back into the Eastern Cape becomes apparent.