As you’re reading this, Rip Curl team riders Mick Fanning and Tyler Wright are en route to South Africa – not to enjoy Jeffrey’s Bay all to themselves, before the World Tour takes over – but to work with SA-based conservation company WildArk.
WildArk’s mission is to secure parts of identified green belts around the world, to protect the rich biodiversity of these areas as a way of conserving wildlife, and then to create research and experience opportunities for people to reconnect with nature, inspired to protect it.
Mick and Tyler have the honour of being asked to join WildArk on their mission, by visiting their newly acquired and very first wildlife conservancy, Pridelands.
Pridelands is a 4500-acre former buffalo-hunting farm just outside the town of Hoedspruit, in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, and it falls into one of the 34 global biodiversity hotspots. The movement of animals there, as an extension of the Greater Kruger National Park, is critical to the longevity of the big herbivores, carnivores, birds and diversity of magnificent trees, shrubs and insects that exist in this epicentre of wildlife.
WildArk is now rehabilitating this area and turning it into acreage for wildlife conservancy, dropping fences on the property and rejoining it with the Greater Kruger.
During their week on Pridelands, Mick and Tyler will learn about wildlife conservation and will join WildArk’s mission to create awareness for the protection of biodiversity worldwide. They will participate in strategy and brainstorming sessions, meet anti-poaching teams, visit other wildlife safehavens, meet experts, track big game on foot with local trackers, and learn and take part in a number of other conservation methods used in South Africa.
This isn’t Mick’s first time working with WildArk. During his well-deserved time off last year, Mick joined the WildArk team on a mission to remote Southwest Alaska. There they spent time discovering and understanding the world’s largest salmon fishery, and shed light on the heavy threats it is currently feeling from Pebble Mine, a mineral exploration project in Bristol Bay. You can learn more about this over here.
Keep your eyes out for Mick and Tyler’s work with WildArk. We’re sure the team at WildArk, and MF and TW themselves, will be dropping content throughout the trip.