MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Honourable Lubabalo Mabuyane, recently announced the enactment of Protected Environment status for the Indalo Game Reserves Protected Environment, through the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) under the Eastern Cape Biodiversity Stewardship Programme.
Indalo, meaning “creation”, is a voluntary collaboration of Eastern Cape private game reserves who support biodiversity based eco-tourism, strive for sound ecological management and commit to the promotion of positive socio-economic upliftment. Indalo reserves employ around 1 079 people and support an additional 3 992 dependents.
The newly enacted Indalo Game Reserves Protected Environment, covering 68 075 hectares, spans three local municipalities, namely: Sundays River Valley Local Municipality, Ndlambe Local Municipality and Makana Local Municipality, all located in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
The Indalo Game Reserves Protected Environment is comprised of eight private game reserves, including Amakhala Game Reserve, Hopewell Private Game Reserve, Kariega Game Reserve, Kwandwe Game Reserve, Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve, Pumba Game Reserve, Shamwari Game Reserve and Sibuya Game Reserve.
“We recognize the need to work in partnership with all sectors of our society to meet our conservation commitments.It is encouraging to see how private land owners are prepared to work with government to expand the protected area state for the benefit of all people and greater socio economic impact” states MEC Mabuyane.
Dr Andrew Muir, CEO of Wilderness Foundation Africa who is also an ECPTA board member comments that “68 075 hectares is a significant contribution to the protected area estate of South Africa. In particular as this includes two global biodiversity hotspots of Fynbos and Albany thicket. We believe that the future of conservation is in meaningful partnerships and beyond the reserve boundaries and stewardship is a very powerful tool that the state has to achieve this end”.
Mark Palmer, Chairman of Indalo notes “this as a historic achievement for the 8 private reserves that see the value of working together to a greater conservation goal. At the same time, we believe that this will attract more tourists to our lodges, and our region as a whole. We are encouraged that other reserves such as Lalibela Game Reserve have indicated their intention to join the Indalo Game Reserves Protected Environment authority.