Published: Friday 15 December 1995

An incro number of privately-man aged wildlife reserves are emerging in South Africa Among the bigger names are Shamwari in the eastern Cape region and the four wildlife reserves run by the Johannesburg-based conservation Corporation.

Adrian Gardiner, the mastermind behind Shamwari, set about his mission investing his own money and borrowing a low interest ecotourism loan fron-r the Independent Development Corporation into a derelict farm in Shamwari. Gardiner derived inspiration for setting up the reserve from the appalling rates of extinction that some animals like the black rhino, the lion and the African elephant faced.

The Conservation Corporation, on the other hand, takes a more hard-headed approach to conservation. Its objectives are to buy up degraded land and nurture the area and its animals back to normalcy, eventually making it a commercially viable prospect by attracting tourists. Les Carlisle, regional development manager of the Corporation's Phinda reserve candidly describes it as a "brutally commercial approach to conservation".

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