The Foundation owns natural areas in Scotland and South Africa where the fauna and other natural values are being protected and developed. The vision is to enhance active nature conservation and nature restoration by way of more careful landscape utilization and at the same time to promote and highten the local population’s knowledge, understanding and appreciation of natural values.
The Foundation undertakes with its own staff to restore endangered habitats and promote of the natural development of biological diversity in these areas. In cooperation with local scientists and other experts a proper and viable practice is ensured and – which is not less important – local support of nature conservation efforts is generated.
Public access to the areas is facilitated by opening footpaths and offering guided tours, and the nature experience is enhanced through information material and active nature guidance.
The purpose of the management of the Foundation’s areas and the conservation of their natural values in concert and harmony with the local population is to serve as a model for further nature conservation projects in other regions. The conservation of nature and the protection of wildlife can only be secured in the long run if they gain wide popular support.
Maremani Nature Reserve – South Africa
In northernmost South Africa close to the Limpopo River, which is the frontier to Zimbabwe, the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation has since 1999 developed a nature reserve of 38,000 ha.
Through the acquisition of a number of arid hunting and infertile farming areas it has become possible to let the natural animal life of the wooded savannah regenerate in a large continuous natural area without internal fences, but with watering holes and secure habitats.
Upon thorough studies of the viability of the area, numerous large herbivores have been re-introduced, i.a. black and white rhino, elephant, roan antelope, sable antelope and the special Central and South African Lichtenstein’s hartebeest.
Maremani Nature Reserve maintains good populations of most of the large carnivores on the African continent: leopard, wild dog, spotted and brown hyena, side-striped jackal and black-backed jackal. Now and then a cheetah is seen, and in one area of the reserve a reintroduction of lions is planned in connection with a science project for young researchers and students.
Many scientists and experts have contributed to planning the nature reserve. The management is supervised by one of South Africa’s most recognised nature experts, Dr. Salomon Joubert, former director of Kruger National Park, who contributes to securing the contact with students and scientists who visit Maremani.
Education and information on natural values and environmental issues – South Africa
Maremani Nature Reserve is dependent on the support of the local population if natural values and in particular vulnerable animal life are to be preserved in the long run. The Foundation therefore attaches great importance to education and information on natural values and environmental issues in the local communities with the purpose of disseminating knowledge about the natural environment and its wildlife and creating understanding of the importance of preserving these values out of regard for the coming generations.
The neighbouring schools to the reserve have received new facilities and a new kindergarten, and the Foundation has invested in a bus that takes school children on guided tours in the reserve 2-3 times a week all year round. This way many children get an opportunity for the first time to meet the large animals and express their enthusiasm as they learn all along about the biodiversity of the savannah.
An actual nature centre for education and information has been planned in connection with the reserve.
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Nature conservation in Scotland
In Scotland Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation owns three natural areas – magnificent sceneries where the biological diversity as well as other natural values are developed and conserved by careful nature management.
Comer (2,500 ha) is a true Scottish highland area stretching all the way to the eastern shore of Loch Lomond on the north side of the almost 1,000 m high Ben Lomond mountain. This is the breeding place of the golden eagle, and flocks of black grouse seek shelter in the small forests. Mountain sides are grown with old oak forest mixed with holly, yew and ivy, and much attention is paid to ensure the continued regeneration and spreading of the deciduous forest. One of Scotland’s most popular hiking routes, the “West Highland Way”, passes through the area along the shore of the lake.
Invertrossachs (1,360 ha) is an area in Central Scotland, about 25 km east of Loch Lomond. The beautiful and hilly terrain ascends from Loch Venechar west of Callander with moorland, small lakes, a fine mosaic of forests and clearings favouring indigenous tree species. This is the southern border of the Scottish Highland. The hilly terrain and the natural streams provide fine habitats for both the white-tailed eagle and flocks of black grouse. A network of roads and marked paths facilitates public access.