As we find ourselves in a global lockdown, it really is a perfect opportunity to explore the world from the comfort of your sofa – and who knows, maybe even book that South African Safari vacation you’ve been dreaming about…
Located in the southern section of the Kruger National Park, the Jock concession – where you’ll find our two luxurious lodges, Jock Safari Lodge and Fitzpatrick’s Lodge – is regarded as the one of the best game viewing areas in the Kruger.
Last month we celebrated World Wildlife Day and now, as the world around us changes, let us not forget the importance of conservation and the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human-induced reduction of species. International and local travelers alike are now more conscious than ever before of responsible ecological practices and will begin to scrutinize how countries, and the hospitality establishments they visit, are impacting their communities and fragile ecosystems.
Owned by the non-profit CALEO Foundation, whose sole aim is to preserve and protect the 6000ha’s which make up the concession, the team on the ground at Jock has been able to contribute towards, and assist in, various conservation projects in collaboration with SANParks.
While conservation within the Kruger Park is the responsibility of SANParks, it is also supported by the Jock Environmental Monitoring Unit [JEMU] – a small non-combative monitoring unit that provides the section rangers with current, accurate information on suspicious activity in the area, as well as environmental incidences. It also assists teams of conservationists in managing the rhino poaching crisis and supplies combat webbing boots, GPS equipment, camera technology and water supplies to both man and canine during operations.
SAVANNA VULTURE PROJECT
Five vulture species – the lappet-faced vulture, Cape vulture, white-headed vulture, hooded vulture and the white-backed vulture – have made their home in the Kruger National Park but are unfortunately on the endangered or critically endangered list. Once widespread across Africa, these vultures are now experiencing unprecedented declines across the continent so, in 2007 the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in the UK registered the 3-year Savanna Vulture Project in conjunction with SANParks. The project assessed population status, breeding success and survival of tree-nesting vulture species in the Park and the results have assisted the Multi-species Action Plan for Africa-Eurasian Vultures in guiding conservation actions for these birds in Southern Africa. Read more about this project in our previous blog post.
GROUND HORNBILL PROJECT
Another large bird under threat is the ground hornbill. There are two active nest sites on the Jock Concession found in the large jackalberry trees that grow on the riverbanks. Camera traps have been installed at these nesting sites and all the activities, habits and facets of the hornbill’s life have been recorded, from mating to the fledglings leaving the nest.
Outside the Kruger National Park, ground hornbills are virtually non-existent and unless efforts are continued, to preserve their natural habitat, they too will become extinct.
THE MARTIAL EAGLE PROJECT
In 2011, the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology in collaboration with HawkWatch International and the Endangered Wildlife Trust identified a 60% decrease in the martial eagle population.
After locating all 66 tree top nests, 30 throughout the Kruger Park were monitored through digital cameras and GPS tagging. Last year, Jock sponsored a GPS tag which was deployed on an adult female and we await reports on her progress.
Read more about this magnificent bird and the Martial Eagle Project here.
WILD DOG RESEARCH
In addition to the Black Rhino Guardian Programme and research into the impact of bovine tuberculosis on the lion populations within the Kruger, Jock, due to its location, has also been able to support the Endangered Wildlife Trust in their African Wild Dog research through camera traps set up on the Concession.
Also known as the African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, African painted dog, painted hunting dog and painted wolf, these dogs have disappeared from much of their former range across sub-Saharan Africa due to habitat loss, diseases like rabies and distemper and persecution by human beings.
Classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN], wild dogs have often been branded as merciless, cruel and indiscriminate killers and considered as vermin, but through research and education many of these prejudices have now been dispelled.
While Jock contributes to conservation by paying a percentage of all turnover generated by tourism to SANParks, it can only do that with your help – each guest choosing to go on safari in South Africa and choosing to stay at Jock Safari Lodge contributes directly to these conservation efforts not only in the Kruger National Park but other national parks across Southern Africa.