Responsible Tourism – Annual Sustainable Report

2015

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 are 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 year old 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.

Energy Management

Our penguin pool filtration system has now been converted over to operate on alternative energy with voltaric panels and a specialised pump which runs directly from energy produced by the panels. All lighting in our Awareness Centre, offices and rehabilitation facilities have been converted over to LED lighting. These initiatives have resulted in a significant reduction in electricity usage and costs.

The figures below do not take into account an average 15% increase in the cost of Eskom electricity

2014 spend R67,524 2015 spend R59,249 % Reduction 12 %

 

Waste Management

An exciting project within the Kurland Village community was the start of a Recycle Swop Shop where members of the community can exchange household recyclable waste for essential commodities. We immediately saw the potential of this project in furthering our objective of incentivized behavioural change and approached the owner of the shop to offer our assistance. Tenikwa assists the Recyle Swop Shop through our Pack For A Purpose Initiative as well as sending our recyclable waste to the centre so that they can benefit from the waste and buy items to stock the shop. In 2015, Tenikwa provided the Recycle Swop Shop with 3234,38kgs of recyclable product, broken down as follows:

Paper 1629,64kgs Plastic 897,59kg Tins & Glass 707,15kg

 

Tenikwa took part in a Recycle Expo which presented Recycling ideas to the local community. The workshop was well received and has done much to raise awareness of what can be done with ordinary household waste.

Tenikwa has also become one of the major sponsors behind a community Gardening Club which promotes the love of horticulture within Kurland Village. Tenikwa sponsored two loads of compost for the gardeners to prepare their gardens for planting and arranged for a demonstration on the benefits of worm farming. Tenikwa sponsored two cash prizes in the Annual Gardens Competition during which the gardens were assessed for various criteria including environmentally friendly gardening techniques and the incorporation of indigenous water-wise species.

Water Management

2015 and early 2016 highlighted the devastating drought which is engulfing central South Africa. We are fortunate to have experienced a generous rainfall, but have installed additional rainwater catchment tanks and have added roofing to the penguin pool which also catches water for our wildlife rehabilitation facilities.

A constant battle is to maintain the clarity and filtration of the penguin pool using products that are not harmful to the environment or our penguins. We have made some advances with this, but it appears to be an on-going challenge to balance health and environment with asthetics of a sparkling clear pool.

Community Engagement

Tenikwa provides a wildlife rehabilitation facility for res nullius animals and birds along The Garden Route who are abandoned, injured or in need of veterinary care. Assistance and advice is provided to the community who are dealing with damage causing animals. Our website has been redeveloped with the emphasis on providing information, guidance and direction for various human-wildlife conflict situations as well as advice for people encountering injured wildlife. Tenikwa ran a project towards the end of the year to raise funds to buy a Christmas Present for each child at the Come To Learn Creche and guests were invited to become involved in supporting this project. The end of year party for the Come To Learn Creche was sponsored by Tenikwa and each child received a gift-wrapped present to put under their Christmas Tree.

The Pack For A Purpose initiative was well supported by our guests during the year with several donations towards our community projects being received and a total of 61.26 kgs of donated items received and delivered to Come To Learn Creche, Kurland School and The Recycle Swop Shop, as well as some donations towards our wildlife hospital.

Tenikwa met with the committee of the Tsitsi Tuiniers community gardening club to find out how we could support the club in their efforts to encourage horticulture in Kurland Village. Through this engagement, we provided financial assistance for certain projects and arranged a talk on worm farming and sponsored two prizes for the annual gardens competition.

Our involvement in the Recycle Swop Shop has assisted the shop to have “exchangable” essential every-day household goods available as well as school stationery. Tenikwa also donated several Mathematical Colouring-In Books to the shop which were well received by the children of the area.

Rehabilitation Facility Highlights

In total, Tenikwa admitted 240 wild animals for rehabilitation. Tenikwa receives no government funding for the costs associated with the subsequent care of these animals and maintenance of the rehabilitation facilities. At considerable cost, these animals are treated, cared for by our staff and veterinary team, and every effort is made to ensure their successful return to the wild. We do this with passion, compassion and a high level of commitment to what we believe in. Some memorable releases in 2015 include the rehabilitation and release of a young Crowned Eagle, 8 tiny Loggerhead Turtles suffering from cold-stunning, who were stabilised at Tenikwa and with the support of CemAir, flown down to TwoOceans Aquarium for further rehabilitation.

In 2015, we launched a sponsorship program for the sponsoring of high care kennels in our rehabilitation facility for a monthly sum. We have received several sponsorships to-date and these together with several kind donations have allowed us to improve and upgrade the facility. With the assistance of Offshore Adventures, we were able to complete a new Seal Stabilisation Enclosure.

Tenikwa has had on-going involvement with the first National Biodiversity Management Plan for African Penguins since the initial meeting in Cape Town in 2010 and all organisations committed to African Penguin Conservation are deeply involved in carrying out the initiatives identified to save the African Penguin from extinction.

In 2015, we also looked at forging closer relationships with other conservation organisations to further common goals. We now have an arrangement in place with Birdlife Plett members to collect birds needing rehabilitation in Plett and transport them to Tenikwa. Mark Brown from Natures Valley Trust rings the birds ready for release as part of their research programs and as always we work closely with SANCCOB who carry out the final rehabilitation and release of all penguins received at Tenikwa.

As part of new welfare legislation, Tenikwa Rehabilitation Centre is now registered with the South African Veterinary Council.

Conservation Awareness

2015 was indeed a milestone year when our holistic approach to ethical wildlife tourism was recognised by Tenikwa being voted as the Top Wildlife Experience in the Western Cape through the Lilizella Awards run by South African Tourism. We also were recognised on TripAdvisor Hall of Fame for Excellent Rating for 5 years running which is a significant constant achievement. As always, our tourist offering is grounded in our conservation objectives and a complete review of our signage and information displays was conducted and upgraded.

2016 and towards the future

Tenikwa is in its 10th year of operation as an Awareness Centre and we still continue to innovate and move with the changing conservation issues facing our wildlife in South Africa. We have identified several areas where we can improve the effectiveness and dissemination of information to our guests and will be embarking on some structural improvements during the course of the year. We will also continue to improve and upgrade our rehabilitation facilities with further improvements to our high care area as we gain sponsors for kennels and develop some more species specific rehabilitation facilities identified.   We also hope to launch the Predi-Cat Eco-Learning program on animal husbandry and behaviour. We have identified several first responder citizens and organisations and will be providing training so that injured animals can be recovered quickly and appropriately with the goal of admitting and treating as soon as possible. We have also identified the need to improve our rainwater catchment further and continue to reduce our electricity consumption. We look forward to a successful 2016 demonstrating once again how ethical wildlife tourism can directly contribute to conservation and supporting biodiversity.