Landowners, who are responsible for 80% of our nation’s biodiversity, are invaluable in the efforts to conserve cranes and many other flagship species. This is clearly evident in the Karkloof area of the Midlands, where Karkloof landowners, who formed the Karkloof Conservancy in 1998, work tirelessly to conserve all three species of Cranes.
In 2011 the conservancy reinforced their commitment to crane conservation by adopting a locally produced Wattled Crane chick, which they named Mbeche. Mbeche was collected as an abandoned ‘second’ egg by the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s fieldworker, Tanya Smith, and was successfully hatched here in the Midlands on the 9th August 2011.
The Johannesburg Zoo Crane Breeding Programme were very excited to find out that Mbeche is a boy, as they have very few males. Mbeche is also the first chick to be collected from this nest and thus is the only living representative of his genetic line in the Wattled Crane Recovery Programme’s Ex Situ Breeding Programme. When Mbeche reaches adulthood, he will be paired with a female Wattled Crane and if they are successful in producing offspring, their chicks will be released into the wild in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands to supplement the wild population.
On 13 February 2012, Tanya Smith, on behalf of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), presented Carolyn Goble with Mbeche’s adoption certificate, saying “Karkloof are the first Conservancy to officially adopt a Wattled Crane. You should be very proud.” Karkloof Conservancy have raised R4,420.00 towards this adoption (with a generous contribution from Pannar Seeds) and will continue to fundraise for this project. The money will be used to help Tanya carry on with her important work of monitoring wild nests and collecting second eggs for the recovery programme.
The Karkloof Conservancy is exceedingly proud of Tony Matchett, Agricultural Manager of Benson Farming, who was presented with an EWT Certificate of Appreciation by Tanya, for his contribution to the conservation of Wattled Cranes in the Karkloof. His enthusiasm in helping the KZN Crane Foundation recruit members, and helping EWT monitor nest sites has been invaluable.
For more information contact Twané Clarke at email@example.com or visit http://www.karkloofconservation.org.za or contact Tanya Smith of the Endangered Wildlife Trust on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.ewt.org.za.