Rewilding Europe celebrates 5th anniversary

Staffan Widstrand, Wild Wonders of Europe

Launched in June 2011, Rewilding Europe is celebrating its 5th anniversary. This exciting initiative seeks to 'rewild' over 1 million hectares of Europe by 2022.  Conservation Capital was a co-founder of the initiative together with ARK Nature, WWF Netherlands and Wild Wonders of Europe. Our contributions so far include establishment of Rewilding Europe Capital, the first conservation enterprise investment fund in Europe which is financing a range of innovative nature-based businesses across Europe.  Other pioneering conservation enterprises include Lagosta in Croatia's Velebit mountains, which combines wildlife tourism and sustainable hunting, and the 'Faia Brava Star Camp' - one of Europe's first safari camps in the Coa Valley in northern Portugal. 

Ol Pejeta wins gold at Responsible Tourism Awards!

According to judges at the African Responsible Tourism Awards, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) in Kenya’s Laikipia region is an "outstanding example of how tourism can be used by conservationists to protect habitats and species and to uplift local communities”.  Conservation Capital and its principals were deeply involved in the creation and development of OPC into what is now widely considered to be a model modern wildlife conservancy,  including chairing the founder board for its first 5 years. Ol Pejeta uses a pioneering (and since much replicated) hybrid for-profit / not-for-profit corporate structure, welcomes more than 60,000 tourists annually and is now Africa’s largest rhino sanctuary. In 2014 it also became the first African conservancy to be given IUCB Green List status.

Limalimo Lodge has opened in the Simien Mountain National Park

We are delighted to announce that Limalimo Lodge is now open and receiving ‘test guests’ during a ‘soft-opening’ period; it will fully open formally in September 2016. The lodge has been financed by African Wildlife Capital  (managed by Conservation Capital) and is the second eco-lodge to be developed in the Ethiopia’s national park system (the first being Bale Mountain Lodge - also financed by AWC). The lodge is set in a stunning location on the edge of the escarpment in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains National Park and as well as offering a wider range of innovative activities from a facility that has been designed to the highest of modern sustainable standards, it is set to become a model community based, conservation-driven tourism facility.

Lion cubs in Akagera National Park

The first lion cubs in several decades have been born in Rwanda’s Akagera national park. The oldest national park and only protected savannah region in the country, Akagera was decimated during the civil war. In 2010 African Parks entered into a joint management partnership with the Rwandan government.  In 2015 the partnership reintroduced 7 lions to the park and this week, a lioness was spotted with three cubs.  Two other lionesses are also believed to be pregnant and plans are in place to reintroduce black rhinos, making Akagera Rwanda’s only big five destination.  African Parks are one of the pioneers of public-private partnership models, an approach that combines the technical and financial expertise of a specialist conservation organization with the clear mandate of a government protected area management authority.  Conservation Capital helps a variety of conservation organisations across Africa to develop the business plans and corporate structures which ensure the success of such partnerships.

Economic Value of Wildlife Tourism in Africa

UNWTO published a report on wildlife watching tourism in Africa. The paper is based on a survey, which involved 48 African tourism and conservation authorities and 145 international and African-based tour operators. Wildlife watching represents 80% of the total annual sales of trips to Africa and sales are increasing. A typical wildlife watching tour is 10 day long, with average group size of 6 participants. The average price per person per day of a standard wildlife watching tour is US$ 243 and US$ 753 for a luxury wildlife watching tour, with an average of US$ 55 out-of-pocket spending per day.

 

Conservation Capital Signs Collaboration Agreement with Mlinda Foundation

Conservation Capital is delighted to announce its new strategic partnership with the Mlinda Foundation. The founders of Mlinda have had a long-standing interest in wildlife conservation, which has led them to develop deep concern for the impact of economic growth on the environment. Mlinda works to develop market based solutions for investors and consumers to reduce these threats, focusing on models that are self-sustaining, replicable and scalable. 

Debt instruments support ecosystem services

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Credit Suisse and the Climate Bonds Initiative have released a joint paper describing how debt instrument are optimised tools for raising finance into ecosystem services. It describes how ‘saving ecosystems is not only affordable, but profitable’ and outlines how ‘debt that compensate investors with market-rate returns can provide companies with the ability to finance activities that conserve, restore, or rehabilitate ecosystem services (as opposed to philanthropic grants or debt with below- market rate returns).’ This echoes the sentiment of and rationale for both Africa's (African Wildlife Capital) and Europe’s (Rewilding Europe Capital) first conservation enterprise investment vehicles conceived and managed by CC, both of which make extensive use of debt instruments to leverage enterprise-driven conservation outcomes.

Catalysing conservation tourism in Portugal

Travel and Leisure Magazine have reported on two new tented camps conceived and planned by Conservation Capital and financed thorough Rewilding Europe Capital. Based on African safari models and launching this spring, Star Camp and Miles Away Tented Camp are Portugal’s first nature-tourism properties of their kind, structured to generate revenues assigned exclusively towards conserving and expanding the protected area where they are located - Reserva de Faia Brava.  

Developing Conservation Enterprises in North Luangwa

North Luangwa National Park lies at the heart of a 12,000 km2 network of community conservation areas.  This wild and beautiful landscape is home to Zambia's only black rhinos and one of the most important elephant populations in Africa.  Conservation Capital is starting a 2-year programme of support for the Frankfurt Zoological Society, funded primarily by the US Government.  We will focus on developing tourism within the Park and a variety of conservation enterprises in the surrounding community areas.  Read more about the FZS North Luangwa Conservation Programme here

Report Estimates Enormous Economic Value of Living Elephants

According to iworry’s report from late 2014 a single dead elephant’s tusks are estimated to have a raw value of $21,000 (based on TRAFFIC estimate that an elephant carries an average of 5kg of ivory per tusk). By comparison, the estimated tourism value of a single living elephant is $1,607,624.83 over its lifetime to travel companies, airlines and local economies thanks to tourists willing to pay generously for a chance to see and photograph the world’s largest land mammal. That makes a living elephant, in financial terms, as valuable as 76 dead elephants. Read more here

New Business Strategy for Community Conservancies in the Maasai Mara

Working in support of the African Wildlife Foundation, Conservation Capital has developed a series of recommendations to enhance the economic viability of the community conservancies network which surrounds the world-famous Maasai Mara National Reserve.  These community conservancies, which are supported by the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association, are partnerships between local Maasai landowners and private sector tourism businesses.  They perform a critical function in maintaining dry season grazing for wildlife and safeguarding migration corridors.  With increasing human populations and climate change, there is an urgent need to develop long term and economically viable land use models based upon large natural habitats and conservation enterprise.  See www.awf.org and www.maraconservancies.org

 

Wild Romania

Jeremy Paxman writes in the Financial Times that “the wild parts of Romania represent just about the last opportunity for large-scale conservation in Europe.”  Conservation Capital is supporting Foundation Conservation Carpathia to develop a new conservation enterprise programme in the Făgăraș region of Romania. See: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/be9e4748-88b2-11e5-90de-f44762bf9896.html#slide0