A Promised Update

Posted on February 10, 2009

Progress is being made towards getting some answers.

I have been humbled and amazed at all the comments posted on the weblog by so many of you regarding the Sand River Pride, and I really appreciate the support and solidarity show towards such an unnecessary act. So many people have asked how you can help, well the simple answer is, you already have. We have to now follow the correct path and investigate through the correct channels to arrive at the correct answers.

However, having said that, we have to move forward and I must again reiterate that the reason for posting the original article was twofold.

Firstly I believe that all of you, as our past guest and future, have a right to know what is happening, good or bad, this is the purpose of having a blog.

Secondly, I am not attaching blame for this incident at the feet of the local community, they are as outraged as we are at the events that transpired, nor am I blaming the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, quite the contrary, the current conditions with the rivers in flood are excessive, and I am not sure any fence could have withstood the pounding that was inflicted on it. I have been working in this Reserve for fifteen years and proud to be apart of it, this is home and there is nowhere else I would rather be. The Sabi Sands comprises of a passionate group of people who have justifiably in my opinion, made this the premier Private Game Reserve in the world, many of you who have visited will attest to that. This is why we are so intent on finding our why?

The Sabi Sand was quick to respond and have sanctioned a structural engineer to investigate the fence structure with immediate effect and make whatever improvements are necessary, and see if there is a system that can withstand such forces of nature. We must also take in to consideration the factors surrounding the reasons why the Sand River Pride were being pushed right to the western boundary of the Reserve, I sincerely believe the coalition of Big Males had a role to play with the young Sand River males getting bigger by the day. However under normal circumstances nature would have played its role and they would have been driven out into an adjacent territory and bided their time as nomads until big enough to challenge for a territory of their own. What happened here was unnatural and the timing very unfortunate with a break in the fence due to the flood waters. Seeing the gap they took it and ventured into Community land and away from our jurisdiction. It is the chain of events that transpired while out in Community Land that we have to get to the bottom of, and the authorities within the Sabi Sand have requested a meeting with the Local Provincial Authority outside the Reserve to ascertain what happened, why it happened and make provision that something like this never happens again.

I will leave you all with a promise; no stone will remain unturned until we get to the bottom of this, and have a system in place whereby this kind of senseless act never has the opportunity to happen again.

7 thoughts on “A Promised Update

  1. Thank you Duncan for keeping us updated. Those of us who know and love Sabi Sands feel very reassured by your words. We all would like to able to ‘help’ and often there is little we can do other than offer verbal support. All the expressions of sorrow and outrage that you have received will have made you aware that you have only to say the word and there would be an overwhelming response from all around the globe to any assistance we may be able to offer.
    As you say, the Mapogos were likely to push these young boys to the fringes and no doubt they would have had to move on; that is somehow acceptable because that’s what nature intends; the sadness and outcry is because we all wish we could find a way for people and animals to live in harmony without harm to one another. Maybe that time will come.
    Time to move on and I feel certain with the passion and determination of Sabi Sands this kind of incident will be one in a million. Good luck to you all in finding the solutions and our sincere thanks for your dedication.


    Duncan, I am thrilled to learn that the events are producing some positive results and that a structural engineer is to be appointed to redesign the Western Boundary Fence, with physical implementation of those recommendations being given urgent priority as soon as they are formulated.

    It is also very encouraging that joint meetings are on the table to explore mutual concerns and ways of avoiding any future recurrence, we all recognize the crucial role that the Sabi Sand Reserve, the Lodges and the local Communities play and the importance of their task of ensuring a fair and proper balance between the needs of the Animals, and those of the population outside the Reserves.

    South Africa has such a wonderful heritage to protect.

    That it can keep its wild animals roaming freely within these great reserves, leading their lives in keeping with the laws of Nature, is almost unique, and it is greatly re-assuring to know that this charge is resting in such caring and capable hands. The level of response received is a demonstrated measure of the support and benefits that joint efforts to protect and preserve all wildlife can look forward to from the Tourism Sector.

    We understand that you have much work to do and applaud you for your dedication, but will now leave you to concentrate on the tasks in hand, resting secure in the knowledge that you will do everything possible to ensure that the outcome is a fitting tribute to the memory of the Sand River Pride.

    We thank You, your Team, the Local Community and the Sabi Sand Authorities that are diligently working towards this end, and, as always, if there is any way that we can be of positive assistance, then we are here.


  3. Duncan, thanks so much for the updates. One would think that a community/wildlife eccosystem could be established similar to what is being developed in Namibia through (Reference Dr. Laura Marker). There are ways to integrate wildlife and livestock that mutually benefit both.
    Joy K. in Camarillo CA

  4. Hi Duncan,

    Well, thanks for the update & I must say that not a day goes by that I don’t think about the pride…I know it sounds a little morbid to dwell but I cannot help you see as my screen saver throws out different pictures every 5 mins or so…..& to be honest, I think they come up so often as a gentle reminder to carry on fighting for the injustice.

    Thank you to you all for the work that you are doing up there & for the dedication to the animals & the welfare of the community. Kind Regards, Drew

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