Addo Elephant Park goes green ahead of World Environmental Day



Published Jun 4, 2024


World renowned tourist destination, Addo Elephant National Park, outside Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth, has made headway in making improvements to mitigate its impact on the environment.

On Wednesday, the planet will celebrate World Environment Day.

The park, which is the third-largest national park, is home to what it calls the big seven, which includes the Southern right whale and Great white shark in its marine environment

The other five are the traditional Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo and the Leopard.

South African National Parks (SanParks) spokesperson JP Louw said, in recent months various solar-powered projects have been commissioned throughout the Park and a biofiltration system is recycling up to 80% of its busiest camp’s grey water.

He, in a statement, added that the Park’s 17 largest boreholes have been converted from diesel generators to solar.

“These boreholes supply drinking water to animals at waterholes and also service a number of staff homes across most of its 160 000 hectares. Whereas the diesel generators were noisy, emitted carbon emissions and were labour- and fuel-intensive in that they needed staff to drive to, check, repair and refuel them regularly, the new solar systems are quiet, clean and require minimal maintenance. Added to that, the Park’s spend on diesel to run the generators has considerably decreased,” Louw said.

He said the project to convert the boreholes got under way three years ago, with the latest addition coming online earlier this year.

“The project funding of just under R2 million came from Animal Survival International, an animal welfare organisation based in the UK, which works to help wildlife around the world.

“An additional 20 hybrid solar systems dotted throughout the Park provide power to Anti-Poaching Unit staff accommodation and a law enforcement fusion centre. These were funded as part of the Wildlife Conservation Bond which was launched by the World Bank in 2022,” he said.

He said another R15 million funded solar project had kicked off, which will see what is known as Main Camp (the main hub of the Park with the most accommodation units, staff housing and where most of the activities depart from) going off-grid by the end of next year.

During a media tour in the park on Tuesday, Section Ranger Zizipho Mfazwe said the newly built biofiltration plant was recycling the majority of grey water from the main camp, which in turn gets fed to a nearby waterhole and the bird hides.

She said it is also set up to, in future supply water for the flushing of toilets at eight new family accommodation units currently being built.

“Once purified it is pumped to a holding reservoir before being fed to where it is required. This system has already seen a drop in the park’s reliance on municipal water and a decrease in its municipal water bill,” she said.

“This was necessary because the R8 million project will minimise negative impact on the environment. Depending on our peak season, it’s meant to be able to recycle 80% of the water that comes into the park. So this can recycle 120 litres of water per day,” she said.

The Star

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