Expanding Critical Wild Spaces in South Africa’s Eastern Cape

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Expanding Critical Wild Spaces in South Africa’s Eastern Cape

On Earth Day this year we were reminded of the urgent global need to invest in our planet to bring back and protect earth’s natural biodiversity, on which all living creatures, including humans, depend. At Helping Rhinos, we are committed to investing in our planet, in particular by creating ecosystems and a strong biodiversity for the benefit of rhino and all wild species.

Which is why a recent international donation to our partners at the Kariega Game Reserve is such exciting and uplifting news for the future of conservation in the Eastern Cape. This very generous donation has meant that Kariega has been able to secure a critical piece of land for conservation that will lead to the opportunity for the creation of connected wildlife corridors within the Eastern Cape over time. 

This donation was made by Mark Ferguson, (son of former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson) and his wife Fiona. The couple and their four sons purchased a section of richly biodiverse land which will be incorporated into Kariega Game Reserve’s protected wilderness. This donation will secure the conservation of around 25 kilometres of the Bushman’s Tidal estuary, ensuring the range expansion and additional carrying capacity for elephant, white and black rhino, as well as opportunities to reintroduce additional apex predators, such as the endangered cheetah.

“Conservation is a team sport and the Fergusons have made a valuable contribution to our team and conservation in the Eastern Cape at large. We must remember that we are simply custodians of our precious planet for a short time and must play our part to conserve and protect our fragile ecosystems for future mankind.” 

The Rushmere Family
Owners of Kariega Game Reserve

Lindy Sutherland, Director of the Kariega Foundation and Hamish Ferguson from the Ferguson family.

Helping Rhinos and the Eastern Cape:
Supporting the Creation of Rhino Strongholds

At Helping Rhinos, we are committed to investing in the future our planet, and one way we’re doing this is through the creation of Rhino Strongholds across South Africa and Kenya. 

Rhino Strongholds are areas that provide the best possible security to reduce the risk of poaching and are large enough to allow the rhino to demonstrate natural behaviours, including migration between territories and genetically diverse breeding, without the need for hands on intervention by humans. Our goal is to expand wild spaces by working with local communities to restore degraded land and create wildlife corridors. These wild spaces will have a rich biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem that benefits a wide variety of both flora and fauna species. The areas will have scope to increase in size through the restoration of degraded habitat and the dropping of fences between already established wildlife areas.

The Eastern Cape in South Africa is one such area where we are working with partners like Kariega Game Reserve to increase range expansion and biodiversity. The Eastern Cape is an area of unique floral and faunal diversity. Eight Southern African biomes and two of the Global Biodiversity Hotspots come together to form an intricate ecological mosaic. The Eastern Cape is also the province with the poorest human population in South Africa. Managing extreme poverty and population growth alongside the need to increase biodiversity for the natural world, becomes a difficult balancing act. 


Rhino Strongholds will ensure the enactment of accepted environmental conservation principles and practises, notably ecosystem connectivity at a landscape scale; biodiversity conservation; climate change mitigation, and, thereby and in conjunction, contributes to the socio-economic development and economic empowerment of the peoples of South Africa.

Luckily the work being done by the Kariega Game Reserve, thanks in a great part to philanthropic commitments like that of the Ferguson family, means that conservation and biodiversity in the Eastern Cape is making a great start towards our investment in the planet.

You can find out even more about Rhino Strongholds and the work being done in rhino conservation in South Africa, in particular on Kariega Game Reserve, when you join us at our online event Room to ROAM on Saturday 21st of May. With expert conservationists from our partner projects in South Africa, it will be a fascinating chance to delve behind the scenes of conservation in these critical rhino strongholds. Tickets available here.