TODAY (November 11), acclaimed photographer/artist Damien Schumann and popular actor Clyde Berning start sweating it out to raise money for the Eden to Addo (E2A) biodiversity corridor.
They are tackling an epic eight-day journey, using the privilege of movement to run the 350km Eden to Addo biodiversity corridor. The run is titled Flow of Life, as it highlights how movement is essential to all species.
The corridor area in question happens to be the most biodiverse on Earth, from the tiny half worm, half insect peripatus that has remained unchanged for 500-million years, to the succulent haworthia, to the black rhino.
“This is biodiversity at its best - and that is why it is essential for us to protect it,” concurs the super-fit duo. Their aim is to complete the run in just over a week, starting from Addo Elephant National Park, as follows:
Stage 1: 37km
Stage 2: 54km
Stage 3: 27km
Stage 4: 45km
Stage 5: 48km
Stage 6: 45km
Stage 7: 41km
Stage 8: 57km
They will conclude the run at Diepwalle in the Garden of Eden, which forms part of Garden Route National Park. Their excursion will be filmed and photographed along the way and content will be released during and after the fact, so keep an eye on the E2A social media platforms to see how it all unfolds.
Who is Eden to Addo and what do they do?
The Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative is based on the dream of re-establishing ancient elephant migration paths across the Cape. Just imagine what other wildlife would benefit and how such a corridor could restore the ecological balance of the region?
In the Garden of Eden lives South Africa’s last truly free-roaming elephant, unhindered by fences. She is the symbol of our effect on nature. Alone, frightened by people, she is pushed into smaller sections of forest as we fragment the landscape with our activities, farming, putting up game fences, building paths and roads.
Just 200 years ago, there were thousands of elephants in the area, along with Cape lion, red hartebeest, black eagle and more.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) 2019 report finds that around 1-million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades - more than ever before in human history (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/ ‘nature decline unprecedented’).
Fragmentation of the landscape caused by human activity is the greatest cause of loss of species.
“Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating, or vanishing. The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed,” says IPBES co-chair Professor Josef Settele.
“This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.”
A solution to fragmentation of the landscape is to establish protected natural corridors linking parks allowing free movement of species.
Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative is a Section 10 non-profit organisation founded in 2006. The vision is to link three mega-parks - Garden Route National Park (1,200km²), Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site (5,000km²) and Addo Elephant National Park (1,640km²) - by means of natural corridors.
The Eden to Addo Corridor is unique in that two of the mega-parks are unfenced and five of South Africa’s seven biomes occur here, namely forest, fynbos, succulent karoo, nama karoo and thicket.
“This is a remarkable and wholly irreplaceable corridor. Nowhere else in the world will you find such a diversity of biomes,” said distinguished botanist Dr Richard Cowling.
E2A works hand in hand with willing landowners and farmers to identify and then protect the natural corridors linking the parks by declaring them Protected Environments or Nature Reserves.
The corridors secure free movement of species such as antelope, leopard, buffalo, aardvark, mountain zebra between the parks - in fact, all fauna and flora, which is especially important in times of climate change. The corridor areas measure approximately 100,000 hectares in total.
Thus far, Eden to Addo has initiated the official protection of 50,000 hectares. In recent years conservationists have acknowledged that putting a fence around an area and proclaiming a park or reserve is insufficient to protect the patterns and processes that are required for proper ecological functioning at a regional level.
“Due to Covid-19, we had to cancel our biggest fundraising event of the year: a 20-day hike that spans the 350km distance of the corridor. Thus we are short of R200,000 to reach our 2020 goal of protecting a further 10,000 hectares,” explains E2A founder Joan Berning.
And this is where of the Flow of Life Run steps in. Clyde and Damian hope to raise funds for the E2A cause and you can support their efforts by donating towards the run which will enable Eden to Addo to purchase land and ensure the corridor stays permanently open.
For more information visit www.edentoaddo.co.za or contact Carmen Claire on 083 737 1509 or at email@example.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to support this essential cause.