The Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) scooped the most coveted award of Park of the Year at the South African National Parks Awards (Kudu Awards) in Gallagher Estate, Johannesburg. The Park’s marine ranger Jonathan Britton also won the Shield Award, for continued acts of placing himself in harm’s way to save others. Efforts include the Garden Route fires, representing SANParks in various rescue operations with stakeholders including the Kingfisher trail, Brown-hooded incidents, 2018 Festive season criminal incidents.
Speaking at the Awards, Dr Sandra Taljaard, Park Manager of the Wilderness section of the GRNP said “We are excited to receive the Park of the Year Award. To us it means our national peers appreciate and recognize that despite the many challenges faced by the Park during the 2018/2019 Financial year, the team found innovative ways to achieve set targets for the year.”
The Award for Park of the year is won by a Park that has come up with the most innovative measures in meeting the financial and human resource constraints.
Speaking about his achievement, Britton said he cannot claim this award only for himself and thus attributes his award to the rest of the ranger teams in Wilderness. Speaking about Britton, Park Manager for Wilderness, Sandra Taljaard, says ‘Jonathan is always at the forefront of the team leading and has done so in various rescue operations during the 2018/2019 financial year.’
The Wilderness Lakes Ramsar Site covers 1,300 hectares and incorporates the estuarine lakes of Rondevlei, Langvlei and Eilandvlei, and the Serpentine channel as well as a dune system with associated thickets, woodlands, marshes, and reedbeds. Important locally-migrant resident birds, as well as staging and breeding birds, use the site, which supports at least 285 native plant species, 32 fish species (several of which use the site as a nursery area), and a diverse array of marine and estuarine invertebrate fauna.
Picture: Jonathan Britton, Marine Ranger for Wilderness with Park Manager, Dr Sandra Taljaard