Clarens Conservancy

by Admin

Feb 11, 2022

The Clarens Conservancy was initiated in 1985 by a group of farmers in the Clarens valley with the intention of preserving the natural resources of this area. The Free State Nature Conservation was helpful with the incorporation of the Conservancy and a delegation of local farmers visited other conservancies in Natal for guidance with regard to the conduct of a conservancy. Initially there were some 12 – 14 members in the Clarens area who joined and on a voluntary basis contributed towards the aims of the conservancy.

It has been the view of the management of the conservancy that the trained guards must be employed to do the legwork in the field. At first Free State Nature Conservation were instrumental in seconding guards from other areas but it has been the experience of the management that the guards should be appointed from local sources. With the increase in public awareness in environmental issues and the emergence of Clarens as a major tourist centre the number of members of the conservancy has increased and there are now four permanent guards employed by the conservancy on patrolling the Clarens area. Two of these have been with the Conservancy virtually since inception.

The benefit/effect of the work of the Conservancy can be seen from the success it has had in the improvement in the fauna and flora of the area, which is reported as follows:

Since the establishment of the conservancy there has been a very marked and noticeable increase in the grey duiker population, which is very easy to see on most nights if you chance to go out with a spotlight. In the early days they were mercilessly hunted with dogs.

The numbers of the Stevenson’s Rock rabbit have increased for the same reason and the Genet population has also improved dramatically. The African wildcat population has improved to the extent that you actually see them during the day sometimes. In the early days they were killed as they preyed on poultry. Otter numbers have increased which is easy to see as if you happened to walk around water. The tracks and middens are evident. Aardwolf, which was never seen, has also increased . A new resident is the Slender mongoose that didn’t stand a chance until the conservancy days. His cousin the grey mongoose shared the same benefit. Even the much-persecuted jackal and porcupine have had an advantage.

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