Responsible Tourism Report

Annual Sustainable Report

2016

Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, through the very nature of its being, strives to raise awareness of the environmental impact humans have to nature, and to provide information to guests, local communities and organisations on environmentally responsible practices.

In 2011, Tenikwa embarked on an informal program to “put into practice what it preached” through ensuring that the impact of the business on the environment was understood and measures taken to reduce the impact where possible.

In 2012, Tenikwa formalised its journey towards measurability of its sustainability by becoming members of HeritageSA, and through the Greenline Program,  underwent a self-assessment and subsequent audit of its business processes, acquiring Silver-level accreditation status.

2014 saw us consolidating our activities and taking stock of what our core objectives are and where we should be placing our focus. Some ineffective programs were discontinued and we launched the successful EcoKidz Family Challenge which has had great acceptance in the marketplace, delivering a value-added product with specific conservation objectives and geared towards the family with 7-12 age group children.

In 2015, we re-assessed the effectiveness of our community engagement to achieve our objectives of encouraging a behavioural change in lifestyle to a more environmentally-sensitive way of living. We made significant strides towards reducing our energy consumption and focused on integrating rehabilitation awareness into our general awareness programs. Our overall conservation efforts and holistic approach to supporting biodiversity have been recognised in various spheres.

2016 saw a concerted effort to upgrading our rehabilitation facilities with the complete overhaul of our marine pool and adapting our facilities to the changing conservation needs of The Garden Route.  We completed the conversion of our lighting systems to LED throughout the property and we improved our rainwater holding capacity significantly.  We also upgraded several enclosures to use the Awareness Centre more effectively to deliver messages of modern day use of technology in non-lethal methods of predator management. Working closely with other conservation stakeholders, we focused on increasing the awareness of our wildlife rehabilitation facility to ensure that animals in need are brought to the centre as soon and as efficiently as possible to afford maximum chance of recovery and release.

Energy Management

The conversion of all lights to the energy efficient LED bulbs has been completed throughout the property.  All desktop computers where possible have been converted to laptops which draw less electricity. Whilst the spend, year on year is more, initiatives to reduce usage has mitigated against rising cost of electricity (17% increase) as well as an increased need for heating in the rehabilitation centre which is a high energy department.

2014 Spend         R67,524                2015 Spend         R59,249                2016 Spend         R73, 377               % Increase 23%

Waste Management

Tenikwa was one of the major sponsors of the Kurland Recycle Swop Shop, not only providing  items for the shop to offer in exchange for recyclable waste, but also providing recyclable waste for the shop to sell in order to buy swop items.  Sadly towards the latter part of the year, we saw a decline in the management of the project and although we remain fully committed to the concept of the project, we need to reassess our involvement in this project in 2017.

Water Management

Tenikwa has significantly increased our rainwater storage capacity and converted the Awareness Centre on to rainwater.  Several dams have also been cleared of papyrus which was choking the water systems. The Marine Pool area has been completely overhauled with the lining of the penguin pool. This will allow more efficient water filtration and reduce the need to change the water too often. The pool was also found to have a major crack and this has been repaired reducing water loss.

Community Engagement

In 2016, Tenikwa approached key conservation stakeholders in the area and ran several workshops on Handling Dangerous Animals as well as a First Responder Workshop providing information on how to deal with injured wildlife out in the field. A simple public guide to dealing with injured wildlife was printed and issued, covering the main species found along The Garden Route.  We also engaged with CapeNature to install signage on beach points along the Garden Route with emergency numbers for injured wildlife.  The renovation of our penguin pool allowed for a great opportunity to engage with the local school and the children from nearby Kurland village workshopped Problems facing our wildlife, Solutions, and The Perfect World.  Under Art for Change supervision, the children then interpreted the workshop onto the penguin pool walls in the form of a fascinating, detailed mural. Several workshops were held with members of various conservancies to talk about the golden hours when a wild animal is injured and the necessity to get it to proper care as soon as possible.

Rehabilitation Highlights

Tenikwa is a member of the Population Reinforcement Working Group for the endangered African Penguin and has contributed to several initiatives from the African Penguin Biodiversity Management Plan, one of which is the Norms and Standards for keeping marine species in captivity for rehabilitation purposes. Coincidentally a week after stakeholder training on First Responder, we were called out to an emergency situation when a flock of flamingos collided with power lines. Amidst devastating and fatal injuries, Tenikwa managed to rehabilitate and release some of the flamingos proving that collaboration between conservation stakeholders is the key to maintaining biodiversity in the area.  2016 also saw a dramatic increase in the number of turtle hatchlings washing up along The Garden Route with Tenikwa providing the main stabilisation facility prior to their transfer to Two Oceans Aquarium for further rehabilitation.  Tenikwa was proud to accept an award from Birdlife SA for our contribution to conservation. Towards the latter part of the year, Tenikwa employed a full time veterinary assistant.

Conservation Awareness

Tenikwa was once again a finalist in the Lilizella Awards for Wildlife Experiences and continues to receive an excellent rating on TripAdvisor through guests recognising the conservation work we do on the ground, as well as offering a professional  product.  In 2016, as the newly introduced lions matured, this part of the standard tour became an excellent platform to raise awareness of the unethical use of lions in the tourism and hunting industry, and we also upgraded our caracal enclosure significantly to incorporate awareness of the use of technology in the farming industry for ethical livestock management. Throughout our guest experiences, and our engagement with the tourist trade, we continue to promote our holistic approach to ethical wildlife tourism, relooking at the industry and emerging trends and adapting our offering where necessary.

Voluntourism

Tenikwa partnered with Edu-Eco to offer a Predi-Cat eco-learning experience at Tenikwa which has been attended by several students and has allowed us to assess the voluntourism market to ascertain what aspects would be suitable to the Tenikwa environment. Several veterinary students also spent time at Tenikwa, gaining experience in the rehabilitation of wild animals, and being introduced to sound animal husbandry methodology in the captive wildlife environment.

2017 and the way forward

Tenikwa is well positioned to move into 2017 with the prospects of new products and several new conservation initiatives on the horizon.  Due to the changing needs of rehabilitation along The Garden Route as well as our desire to continually improve our rehabilitation facilities, the wildlife hospital will undergo further enhancements with the hope of raising sufficient funds to install Xray facilities on-site to assist in the prognosis of injured birds. Tenikwa will also be contributing to the new African Penguin Biodiversity Management Plan which is due to be formulated in 2017. We look forward to a successful 2017 demonstrating once again how ethical wildlife tourism can directly contribute to conservation and support biodiversity.