The Wilderness Foundation pioneered the establishment of INDALO, an Eastern Cape Private Nature Reserve Association, in 2002. It facilitated a series of meetings between owners and general managers of some of the key private reserves based in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and proposed the concept of an association.
INDALO is made up of members representing a number of private nature reserves/game reserves in the Eastern Cape and, through networking, focuses on promoting socially responsible, ecologically sound land use among its members. INDALO supports non-consumptive wildlife and biodiversity based tourism.
It currently consists of 10 member reserves, covering over 100 000 hectares of sub-tropical thicket, Fynbos, karoo and forest vegetation in the Albany Region and south eastern Karoo of the Eastern Cape Province.
The purpose of INDALO is to create a forum for its members to:
- Identify and address threats to biodiversity and ecological sustainability, and identify appropriate solutions
- Identify and develop programmes to enhance social sustainability and community involvement and development
- Be educated in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development
- Develop cooperative environmental management strategies and plans
INDALO is involved in a number of projects including:
In 2004, the Wilderness Foundation commissioned a ground breaking study looking at the socio-economic impact of the private game reserve industry in the Eastern Cape. The first study was done by the Terrestrial Ecology Unit at UPE (now known as African Centre for Ecology at Nelson Mandela Metro University) and clearly showed the positive socio-economic impacts that the shift to private conservation was having in the region. INDALO commissioned an update in 2006 and 2008, and the 2010 version is underway. This series of studies is a very powerful tool for researchers and for lobbying government to acknowledge the positive socio-economic impact that private conservation can have. For more information and access to the reports please contact the INDALO secretariat.
In 2008 Conservation International and the Wilderness Foundation developed a project to pilot stewardship in the Eastern Cape’s Albany Biodiversity Hotspot. Two years worth of funding was secured from Michael Hainebach and supported by conservation International. The objective of the INDALO - Albany Stewardship Project, which was implemented by Wilderness Foundation, was to investigate ways of improving and securing biodiversity conservation in the private game reserves of the Eastern Cape. The principal product of the project is a conservation assessment of the 11 member reserves, and two years worth of ecological advice and support to various reserve management teams, aimed at improving biodiversity conservation.
The INDALO Wildlife Colloquium was started in 2004 by INDALO member Angus Sholto-Douglas. The aim is to bring together students, researchers and wildlife managers to discuss and learn more about a range of subjects including: tick bore diseases in wildlife and species management research, anti-poaching and financial incentives for biodiversity conservation. The colloquium usually takes place at Rhodes University in July. The next colloquium will be held in July 2011 at the Rhodes Zoology Department in Grahamstown.
The INDALO members support scientific research in a wide range of fields. There are students and researchers working on most of the INDALO member reserves. Research subjects include wildlife behaviour, biodiversity inventories, plant ecology, socio-economics, etho-botany, genetics, and veterinary studies. The Research Centre at Amakhala Game Reserve keeps a list of past and active research projects on the INDALO reserves. Interested parties can contact the individual reserves or the INDALO secretariat.
Poaching of wildlife, whether it’s for “bush meat” or high value ivory or rhino horn, is a challenge faced by most protected areas in Africa. The members of INDALO collaborate in the field of anti-poaching and security. Although each reserve usually has its own anti-poaching units, there is an excellent communication network and common strategic approach. An experienced and highly competent team is in place to proactively deal with poaching and security.