Tembe Elephant Park
Tembe is a community-owned reserve in South Africa, managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZN Wildlife). It comprises 300km2 of community-owned land between Zululand and Mozambique that supports a mix of tropical and sub-tropical vegetation and ecosystem types, including dense sand forest, woodlands, grasslands and swamplands.
Increasingly the reserve is becoming subject to Poachers, having a constitent prtective record up to 2016, Tembe has lost more Rhino and Lions this year than ever before as the Poachers look for less well guarded reserves and animals,
Tembe is recognised for its high value biodiversity because
It is a big 5 protected area
It contains rare ecosystem types, including unique sand forest habitat
It supports endangered and threatened species, including leopard, black and white rhino, African wild dogs and suni antelope
It is home to some of the world’s largest elephants, world renowned for its great tuskers
It has more than 360 recorded bird species including many endemics and near-endemics
Recent discoveries include new trees species, the world’s largest web-spinning spider (nephila komaci), and the Grant’s bush baby (new primate species for South Africa)
The reserve was established in 1983 to protect the local Tembe (Thonga-Zulu) community from elephant attack, which was common as a result of elephants being caught up in human conflict during their seasonal migration between Maputaland (the extreme north of KwaZulu-Natal) and Mozambique. The Tembe tribe donated the land under the condition that elephants (and now lions) not leave the reserve, thereby endangering the community. The reserve was initially unfenced along the Mozambique border, allowing the elephants to cross freely until it was eventually fenced as elephants gained understanding that Tembe provided a safe haven
Lions were introduced in 2002 primarily for tourism, and are original Etosha stock. They have been extremely successful and to date we have had approximately 110 lions on record despite contraception programmes and live donations to other reserves such as Mkhuze Game Reserve, Dinokeng and Phinda.
African wild dog were introduced in 2011 to support the national metapopulation strategy as well as for ecological and tourism reasons. They too have done extremely well and the pack currently numbers 14 individuals.