Protecting Madikwe’s Wildlife for Generations to Come: our new Conservation & Sustainability Manager Takes Charge.
Shane Kloeck has been part of our Morukuru Family for the past nine years. We first met him when he completed his Experiential Training for his Degree in Nature Conservation. Qualifying as a ranger has allowed him to pursue his dream job. Shane has been a crucial part of our ranger operations, but we have now assigned him to a new position. Meet our Conservation & Sustainability Manager.
This new role means I won’t spend more time in the bush with guests. My challenge is looking for ways to conserve and preserve biological and ecological resources. I’m very focused on using our resources to benefit future generations. I’m excited to examine how Morukuru Family can further reduce our footprint and look for additional ways to enhance the Madikwe reserve and the surrounding communities.
By creating this new Conservation & Sustainability Manager role, Morukuru Family is once again demonstrating leadership in the conservation arena. Innovation has always been a cornerstone of our model. With Shane now dedicated to this niche position, we look forward to finding fresh solutions to address environmental obstacles. We have always embraced sustainability principles, but we also know that there are always improvements to be made and new ideas and options to implement. Pursuing our conservation ideals is not static, and we are excited about pushing even further to introduce creative shifts.
My key focus will be on managing our private area and spearheading thinking about how the lodge and staff to can consider sustainability in every part of their jobs. I will be using Weeva to capture data. Weeva is a 360° sustainability management platform. It guides tourism businesses through small, actionable steps that impact them together. My job also allows me to collaborate with the Reserve management on conservation projects. I look forward to nurturing this strong relationship and brainstorming new ideas. Safari with a Purpose is one of my passion projects, and I plan to work closely with guests interested in participating in this option. Some of the responsibilities of the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation (MGWF) are also in my portfolio, and I'm already exploring how MGWF can contribute even more to our support of the local school in Molatedi. We mustn’t forget that much of the work of the MGWF is possible because guests make donations. This financial and material support allows us to support the Madikwe Reserve in many ongoing essential projects.
With years of hands-on ranger experience, Shane is no slouch when working in conservation. He has often participated in Rhino Notching and specialist projects working with Lion, Wild Dog and Cheetah. These initiatives include inspecting the animal collars, collecting DNA samples and assessing if any further check-ups are needed.
Working alongside a specialist vet and the Head of Anti-Poaching has been a privilege. Once the Rhino has been darted, you can get up close to the sedated animal so DNA samples and horn shavings can be collected, and the actual notching can be done. The experienced team guide everyone along the way - this has been a fantastic learning experience for me, and I encourage guests to explore this opportunity which falls with our Safari with a Purpose offering.
Safari with a Purpose is an amazing experience for guests. This programme allows guests to get involved with actual conservation work. Guests get hands-on experience working with critically important species. They can get very close to the animals and touch them. This is not a “petting zoo” scenario but the opportunity to get stuck in and contribute towards protecting and conserving that specific species. Guests also get the chance to listen and learn from conservationists working in the field across several disciplines. The Madikwe Reserve is not only about wildlife - there is a critical community element too. Guests can visit a nearby community school and get an understanding of how this school operates. Meeting the educators and the learners is a poignant experience, and guests leave with a unique perspective on what it is like in these areas.
At Morukuru Family, we have always been dedicated to sustainable tourism. However, we recognise that there is always room for improvement. So, behind the scenes, Shane and our team have been getting on with the business of adding even more progress.
Morukuru Owners house and River house have become solar-powered; Farmhouse is going off the grid by becoming solar-powered and should be completely self-reliant in the next month or so if all goes according to plan. Energy is a hot topic these days. At the moment, I’m putting a plan together to reduce our energy consumption further. Sometimes, small changes like scheduling specific machines for a different time or upgrading to eco-friendly equipment make a huge difference. For example, conventional geysers are on the way out, and new heat pump geysers will significantly reduce power usage. Guests often ask about how they can make a difference to their footprint. When they return home, I suggest that small steps like eliminating single-use plastics, upping recycling efforts and being mindful of energy and water consumption all add up.
Tourism is constantly evolving, and the safari industry recognises that conservation and sustainability are intertwined. Shane Kloeck’s latest career move will allow Morukuru Family to do what we love best - pursuing tangible conservation initiatives.