Episode 2: The Wild Wild East
Adrian Gardiner takes us back to where it all ended for the denizens of the Eastern Cape. Human settlements and industrialisation completely wiped out animals that occurred naturally in the Eastern Cape. The ‘eye-witness’ accounts of Settler memoirs collected by CJ Skead gave Adrian a blueprint to set right this monumental wrong.
Napoleonic Wars led Britain into a socio-economic crisis, and so the British Government relocated 6000 British families to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. They trekked inland and cleared the land of all wildlife over a period of 150 years. Reckless hunting and intensive agriculture changed the ecology of this beautiful place. Elephant and buffalo herds dwindled. The last lion was shot in 1879.
The saving grace came in 1989 near a little village called Paterson. A drought-ravaged farming community was giving up its fight to save their degraded land. A young businessman’s dream to own a piece of Africa grew from 400 hectares to 25 000, and there began private conservation in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
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